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Environmental Stewardship

Plant growing in soil.

Everything we do supports producing secure, high-quality banknotes that meet customer requirements, minimizing our environmental impact, and exceeding our compliance requirements.  We are committed to continually improving products and processes, protecting the environment through prevention of pollution, and investing in our employees, facilities, and equipment to enable that improvement and provide a safe workplace.

BEP’s environmental management system conforms to International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001:2015, an internationally recognized standard focused on managing and improving environmental, health and safety programs.  Continual improvement of BEP’s ISO 14001 management system is demonstrated by the positive results of the ISO 14001 third-party audits and long-term improvements in key performance metrics.

Protecting the Environment

The BEP has numerous ongoing projects with significant environmental benefits.

Single Note Inspection (SNI) Process

In FY 2021, BEP continued to develop and use SNI, a process that reclaims individual notes that pass quality standards from sheets of currency that contain at least one defective note.  Previously, BEP shredded all sheets that contain at least one defective note.  Each sheet contains either 32 or 50 notes.  SNI is currently run on $1, $5, $20 and $100 currency notes.  The BEP reclaimed 258.1 million notes at our Fort Worth facility and 37.5 million notes at our Washington, D.C. facility in FY 2021, which diverted 309.7 tons of currency wastepaper materials from municipal solid waste disposal.  Without reclaiming these notes, BEP would have used an additional 51.7 tons of ink and 3.5 tons of solvent to complete its currency order and would have generated an additional 875,000 gallons of wastewater, 2.1 tons of air pollutants and 75.5 tons of industrial solid and hazardous wastes.

High-Efficiency Lighting Systems

The BEP is upgrading interior lighting by installing LED lamps through large areas at both facilities.  LED lamps reduce energy consumption and provide a better lighting experience and work environment while also reducing fluorescent bulb breakage and hazardous waste disposal costs.  At the Washington, D.C. facility in FY 2019, BEP re-lamped office areas and common spaces, saving 1,960 megawatt hours (MWh) per year of electricity and reducing GHG emissions by 677.5 metric tons of CO2 per year.  In FY 2020, BEP initiated the second phase of this project, the re-lamping of production wings, which is expected to save an additional 1,850 MWh of electricity per year and to yield a GHG emissions reduction of 604 metric tons of CO2/year when it is completed.  This project is planned for completion in FY 2022.  At the Fort Worth facility, the re-lamping project is expected to provide an annual savings of 1,238 MWh and 877 metric tons of GHG emissions.

Plant Optimization Systems

The Fort Worth facility is implementing a Central Plant Optimization project to increase plant efficiency through predictive control machine learning technology, and adjusting the chillers, heat exchangers, pumps, boilers, cooling towers, and other plant equipment in order to achieve optimal efficiency.  The plant modeling will be conducted during the project, but a conservative 5% annual energy savings is estimated to be 540 MWH and 383 metric tons of GHG.  The project commenced during FY 2021 and is targeted for completion in FY 2022.

Improved Air Handler Efficiency

During FY 2021 the Washington, D.C. facility awarded a contract to install variable frequency drives (VFDs) on 19 air handlers in the building.  This was initiated during FY 2021 and will be completed during FY 2022.  The BEP estimates that this project will reduce annual energy consumption by 20 Btu, which will yield a GHG reduction of 1,940 metric tons.

We are honored that the Fort Worth facility won two awards during the City of Fort Worth Water Department’s 23rd annual Environmental Excellence Awards Ceremony on November 3, 2021.  During the virtual ceremony, the Fort Worth facility was honored with the Pretreatment Stewardship Award, which is the highest-level pretreatment award of the four levels:  Star, Associate, Partnership and Stewardship.  We received the award for 12 years of 100% compliance.

The Fort Worth facility also received a Pollution Prevention Award for its Offset Printing VOC Reduction Project, which involved connecting the Simultan presses to the Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer to reduce volatile organic compounds.  The maximum emissions are anticipated to be less than five tons per year.  The project illustrates BEP’s commitment to the environment and the City of Fort Worth.