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DPI of Rochester -- Sustainability by Design

November 2008 By Cheryl Adams
Managing Editor
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WHEN DPI of Rochester decided (in 2006) that it was going to relocate, company execs knew that America’s green revolution was well under way and, most likely, here to stay. Setting their sights on all things green, they purchased a building located on a former landfill. The facility itself was a prefabricated steel structure, components of which were made from recycled scrap metals.

Rather than installing blinds, window film was permanently applied to every window, rejecting up to 79 percent of outdoor heat during summer months, while retaining much of the heat inside during the cold New York winters.

Energy-efficient HVAC units were installed to reduce energy loss and increase energy efficiency. Exhaust systems were added to printing presses, and air systems were placed in chemical storage and air compressor rooms. DPI installed a special gravity-operated drainage system. It remodeled the rest rooms with low-consumption toilets and even incorporated 100 percent organic, hypo-allergenic air fresheners throughout the facility.

All of these initiatives are above and beyond the recycling practices DPI implemented for paper, aluminum printing plates, ink cartridges, metal drums, steel strapping used for skids, old computer equipment, pallets and plastics.

When it comes to being sustainable by design, DPI of Rochester incorporated its “Green Steps” program into the new printing plant right from the start.

“We used a rating program called LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design),” explains Jim Stanley, president. “The U.S. Green Building Council created this rating program, and it is based upon six major environmental categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation and Design. In the layout and construction of our new facility, we used these six steps to create a green facility.”

Stanley details the six LEED steps that are the basis of DPI’s Green Steps program.

Sustainable Sites. “The reuse of an existing structure is the first step toward conserving materials,” he says. “DPI is located on the former Emerson Street Landfill, which, in the past, was primarily used for disposal of ash derived from the burning of municipal waste. Also, DPI’s location near major New York expressways minimizes travel distances and is centrally located to employees and clients.”

Water Efficiency. While many manufacturing businesses have taken action to conserve energy and combat rising fuel costs (DPI being one of them), few have taken measures to reduce potable water demand and reduce generation of wastewater. Stanley points out that adding ultra-high efficiency plumbing fixtures (that reduce water required for sewage conveyance), more efficient mechanical equipment and less wasteful water practices (using conventional fixtures) led to significant green improvements.

“Did you know that older, inefficient toilets are responsible for most of the water wasted in American homes and businesses?” he asks. “That’s why we decided to use low-consumption toilets. Also, when selecting a drainage system, we installed a gravity drainage system, wherein the forces of gravity handle drainage without the need for a mechanical pumping system, therefore eliminating energy consumption.”

Energy and Atmosphere. DPI has captured many of these opportunities, including installing the latest energy-efficient HVAC units equipped with air-side economizers, which use fans to draw cooler air inside without conditioning it during summer and, conversely, circulate heat generated from printing presses to help keep the facility warm in winter. The HVAC units also use high-voltage direct electrical current to reduce energy loss.

DPI’s other green energy and atmosphere initiatives range from installing metal halide and fluorescent lighting and automatic passive infrared (PIR) wall switches, to investing in motion-sensor paper towel and soap dispensers, to utilizing window tinting instead of blinds.

Materials and Resources. DPI has become a steward of the environment, consistently practicing source reduction and recycling. In addition to those initiatives, it has replaced alcohol dampening systems with aqueous solutions, employs scrap removal systems, monitors air emission, is FSC certified and uses vegetable-based inks.

Indoor Environmental Quality. “Have you ever been to a printing facility that does not smell like one?” asks Matt Kellman, executive vice president. “If your answer is no, we invite you to take a tour of our plant. To ensure good air quality, our HVAC systems have been properly designed, installed, operated and maintained. We have installed exhaust systems located at the delivery and above the dryer system of our offset presses. We have also installed a make-up air system in our chemical storage room and in our air compressor room.”

Innovation and Design. The materials DPI used to reconstruct its facility and loading dock addition were chosen wisely, Kellman says, noting that the facility is a prefabricated steel structure made from recycled scrap metals, and the steel structural components are 100 percent reusable.

To advertise its greenness,” DPI has incorporated a signature statement into all of its business correspondence: “Digital & Commercial Offset Printing: Think green before you print.” The company even created what Kellman describes as a “very cool lizard” to promote its Green Steps program.

The little green lizard story is just one of many that Kellman likes to tell. He admits that he talks about DPI every chance he gets—from his first stop at Starbucks in the morning until his workout at the YMCA at the end of his day. He tells anyone who will listen that DPI (formally Digital Color Imaging) was started in the mid-80s as a prep house for area printers and ad agencies. DCI jumped into the offset printing arena in 1999 with a new six-color, 40? Komori press with coater.

“DPI was an upstart when 9/11 hit,” Kellman reports. “That put a great strain in the regional marketplace, but we survived with good ol’ fashion hard work. Quality and the ability to hit very demanding schedules has become our trademark.”

DPI grew rapidly between 2005 and 2007, and, by the end of 2008, it expects to have doubled its annual sales to more than $8 million. Digital printing has also been a successful venture, as it now totals more than 25 percent of the company’s business. Kellman says a pair of HP Indigo presses have separated DPI from “the pack of iGens and Nexpresses in the Rochester market.” In 2007, the second Indigo and another six-color Komori with coater were installed as part of the company’s relocation. 

Between eco-friendly technology, a sustainable facility and its Green Steps program, Kellman contends DPI has earned the reputation of being one of the greenest and most efficient printing facilities in Western New York. He credits his staff for embracing the Green Steps and for taking them to heart every day.

“The best reward for Jim and I has been the high level of buy-in from our employees,” Kellman concludes. “We are all very proud of the Green Steps program. That translates back into pride in the workplace. And, in this very demanding industry, that doesn’t always come easily.” PI



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