Toyota & GrowingSpaces

Toyota Takes Factory Efficiency to the Next Level Treehugger.com
-November 16, 2005 07:30 AM – John Laumer, Philadelphia

MVC-758S-300x225Plenty of businesses encourage recycling and perhaps “green purchasing”. Some, even a few of the big multinationals, are famed for their occasional green designs.

We haven’t seen many big companies, though, which continually green their designs, continually make more efficient operations, and empower employees to inspire. Although one anecdote does not make a trend, one of our “tipsters” has pointed out yet another example of Toyota going for the “Full Green Halo Effect”.

According to the greenouse seller “Growing Spaces”, a Toyota Vehicle Manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Kentucky plans to use a 51 ft Growing Dome Greenhouse to show recycling of organic waste and efficient use of resources.

Per the Growing Spaces weblog: . “All of the organic waste matter produced throughout the plant is cycled through a highly efficient composting process. All of the kitchen scraps, food waste, paper towels, grass mowings, leaf trimmings and any other organic refuse is fed into a giant composter at the rate of 30 cubic yards per week”. “In this amazing machine fueled by bacteria and organic matter, temperatures of over 160 degrees Fahrenheit are created which effectively break down the organic matter into usable compost. After a week or two in the composter, 2000 pounds per week of usable compost is created.

After maturing for a month or two in windrows, the compost is used throughout the plant for landscaping purposes.”


Toyota Demonstrates Efficient Use of Resources Using Growing Dome Greenhouse KY toyota 1

– At their motor manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, Toyota is leading the field by demonstrating intelligent use of resources. At this time, they have instituted a composting program, which is proving very successful. All of the organic waste matter produced throughout the plant is cycled through a highly efficient composting process.

All of the kitchen scraps, food waste, paper towels, grass mowings, leaf trimmings and any other organic refuse is fed into a giant composter at the rate of 30 cubic yards per week. In this amazing machine fueled by bacteria and organic matter, temperatures of over 160 degrees Fahrenheit are created which effectively break down the organic matter into usable compost. After a week or two in the composter, 2000 pounds per week of usable compost is created. After maturing for a month or two in windrows, the compost is used throughout the plant for landscaping purposes.

Now Toyota is planning to complete the cycle by using the compost to grow produce for the cafeteria. To accomplish this, they will be using a 50-foot diameter Growing Dome Greenhouse from Growing Spaces, LLC in Colorado. After substantial research, Martin chose the Growing Dome because of its natural energy efficient shape and its demonstration of low-impact technology and passive solar design. Growing Spaces’ website, growingspaces.com is packed with information on the design and specifications on their domes and also includes photos as well as a forum with comments and questions from dome owners.

toyota2These greenhouses are very energy efficient and are able to maintain optimum growing temperatures year-round with little or no extra heating or cooling. Chuck Martin, the engineer in charge of the project, informed us that during the winter the growing dome will be heated using waste heat from the manufacturing plant. Some tools on the assembly line are powered from compressed air coming from four giant air compressors.

The compressors are water-cooled and normally the hot water is piped to a cooling tower before it is returned back to the compressor. Chuck has come up with the brilliant idea of heating the Growing Dome during the winter months so that it can be a year-round tropical environment. Some of the hot water from the compressors will be piped under the soil beds and also through the giant water tanks inside the dome, thus keeping the temperatures equable all through the winter months. These same giant water tanks, during the summer months help to keep the greenhouse cool.

This project is very exciting and who knows, perhaps other people will be inspired by it. For more information about the Kentucky plant, Chuck Martin can be reached at (859) 576-0144 or Growing Spaces, LLC can be reached 1-800-753-9333.

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