Effingham Daily News
While national media coverage about efficiency tends to lean toward resource management issues, Norma Lansing said there are other ways to be efficient.
“Everybody’s looking for ways to save money,” said Lansing, president of the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce.
“Everybody’s focused on energy, but we started looking at other ways to be efficient,” she added. “There’s how to use people, as well as how to use storage space and technology in the most efficient way possible.”
The Chamber’s Community Development Committee recently sponsored an Efficiency Exchange Expo in which representatives of several Effingham-area businesses set up displays that showed how to be more efficient in many ways.
While public attendance was scanty, Lansing wasn’t deterred.
“It’s a new idea and new ideas take awhile to ferment,” she said.
Ken Repking of St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital said the hospital has spent a lot of time working on how to be more efficient.
“We’ve really looked at our procedures and have implemented lean technology,” said Repking, the hospital’s section specialist for nuclear medicine.
The premise of lean technology is that operations that do not result in value to the customer could be eliminated. At the hospital, Repking is one of eight “lean coaches.”
“The coach guides his team to tear apart a process and make it more efficient,” he said.
Patterson was chosen as the site for the expo because of modern techniques used to make the building more efficient.
Facility manager Roy Shelley said the company is saving large amounts of money in the operation of its new building, opened last year.
Shelley said those techniques go from top to bottom.
“For one thing, we have a green roof,” he said. “Because we grow vegetation on the roof, it reduces heat absorbed by the building, as well as water collection.”
Shelley also displayed at his booth images of the landscaping around the Patterson building.
“The landscaping is drought-resistant,” he said. “We lost a little plant life this summer, but not much.”
The Effingham area suffered through its driest summer in more than 20 years this year.
The Patterson building also features windows that maximize natural light by pointing toward the east and west. There’s also two electric car charging stations in the parking lot.
Shelley said the company also saved money on building materials by buying as local as possible.
“Most of the building materials were purchased within a 500-mile radius,” he said.
The Patterson building has been certified for its “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).”
Brian McLemore of CQI Associates, a Maryland-based energy consulting firm, said the Patterson building shows others what can be done to conserve resources.
“When you do an expo in a building like this, it shows cost savings ways that can lead to significant cost reductions for any business.”
Other expo participants included ActOn Energy, Tick Tick Energy, Jansen’s Heating & Air, America’s Select Homes, KCH Mechanical, Jansen’s Computer Sales & Repair, Get Fit Family Fitness, Lake Land College, Recycle It Center and F.E. Moran Alarm & Monitoring Services.