From the Field

Rheem Joins GreenMech

Rheem Manufacturing Co. has joined the Green Mechanical Council (GreenMech). The announcement follows Rheem's recent decision to sponsor the organization's Green Mechanical Awards, which “recognize mechanical/plumbing contractor and design/build firms that are creating the most fuel- and cost-efficient systems in residential and commercial applications.” The three winners of the competition were announced at the Greenbuild International Expo in Phoenix, Ariz., on Nov. 11.

“That commitment (to environmentally friendly business practices) is reflected in the energy-efficient products our company brings to market, as well as in the environmentally responsible business practices we have undertaken within our production facilities over the years,” Peter Reynolds, vice president and general manager of the company's Water Heating Division, said.

Rheem recently became the first industry manufacturer to announce delivery of a fully integrated, high-efficiency heat-pump water heater to the plumbing wholesale and utility channels. The new air-source HP-50 Heat Pump Water Heater, which was showcased at Greenbuild, offers an energy factor (EF) of 2.0, or more than twice the energy efficiency of a standard electric storage water heater. The energy-saving design will help a family reduce its carbon footprint by nearly two tons annually. Additionally, the new water heater qualifies for a federal tax credit as well as many state and utility rebates and incentives.

At Rheem's water-heater production facility in Montgomery, Ala., new chillers that lower air temperature and use recycled water have reduced water consumption by 45 percent. Energy-efficient lighting has cut electricity consumption while boosting illumination, while a shift to four-day workweeks (10 hr per day) has decreased gas consumption by 18 percent.

Similar measures have been instituted at the company's water-heater production facilities in Nuevo Laredo and Mexicali and at the Heating & Cooling Division operations in Fort Smith, Ark., and Nuevo Laredo. In Fort Smith, for example, powder paint is applied to products in an enclosed environment to boost air quality for employees. Air quality is also a priority in Nuevo Laredo where vacuum oil filters use a pump system on all refrigerant to collect oil, rather than allowing volatile organic contaminants (VOC) to vent into the atmosphere.

“The changes we have made in our HVAC and water-heating facilities are intended to minimize the impact on natural resources, preserve indoor-air quality, and protect neighboring communities where our employees and their families live,” Reynolds said. “At the same time, these changes also make a strong, positive contribution to the growth of our enterprise.

“That same win-win situation is why our company has decided to join the Green Mechanical Council,” Reynolds continued. “We enthusiastically share in GreenMech's commitment to educating the trade on the need to create and maintain environmentally sound residential and commercial mechanical systems.”

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