Ripon Printers is taking steps to reduce its environmental impact and improve air quality. 

And it pays. According to Project Engineer Jeff Cottrell, the company estimates it has saved $132,000 annually for about four years by making changes to how it manage emissions and energy use. 

Strategies it uses include the following:

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) Reduction: Ripon Printers uses inks, solvents, and solutions with low- or no-VOCs in them for its printing processes. 

It also has reduced the quantity of solutions it uses.  

This pollution prevention approach reduces overall VOC emissions that combine with sunlight to create ozone, which can cause eye/ear/throat irritation, asthma and other health problems. 

VOC Destruction: Ripon Printers collects VOCs emitted during the ink drying process and uses the heat to fuel the dryer. 

Over 99 percent of the VOCs are destroyed during this process rather than being emitted to the environment. 

By using this pollutant as a fuel source, Ripon Printers uses less natural gas and improves air quality. 

Energy Efficiency: Ripon Printers has taken a number of steps to reduce overall energy use in its plant. 

With lighting changes, occupancy sensors, high-efficiency motors, use of outside air for cooling, reclaiming heat from a compressor room to heat a workspace, and installing Variable Frequency Drives on machinery, the company uses less electrical power.  

Through these “nega-watts” (i.e. power that is never needed or produced), the company is playing an important role in reducing the amount of energy that power plants produce, which also improves air quality. 

Businesses that would like to learn more about reducing its overall environmental impact by reducing its energy consumption can contact WI Focus on Energy at (www.FocusOnEnergy.com or 800-762-7077). 

Businesses that are interested in improving air quality can contact David Liebl, waste reduction and management specialist with the UW-Extension Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center (david.liebl@ces.uwex.edu; 608-265-2360).