The sustainable (r)evolution at Decospan

 

As a business, Decospan is constantly evolving, and has no intention of missing the ecology train. With this in mind, Decospan switched to a fully hybrid vehicle fleet at the end of 2021, and is currently in the process of rolling out a major and ambitious energy project.

The four pillars of this plan to lower the ecological footprint: 'People', 'Product', 'Process' and 'Production'. Peter Wullepit, verantwoordelijk voor Maintenance & Engineering en trekker, licht dit initiatief toe. Peter Wullepit, who is responsible for Maintenance and Engineering, outlines the initiative:

‘All of this is part of a multi-year plan to reduce our ecological footprint to an absolute minimum.’

Peter Wullepit

Gaining momentum

When it comes to major innovations, Peter Wullepit has certainly earned his stripes at Decospan.

Several years ago, he expanded the technical service, he was there at the foundation of Decomat and has been a supporter of the major expansions at the Ringlaan and Lageweg sites for several years. 

‘The energy issue has recently been entrusted to me. There were already initiatives in the starting blocks, but the recent shifts in the energy market have meant that a number of things are now gaining momentum. A task force has been established to take another look at the energy issue.’

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Steering process

‘Our products have evolved over the years,’ explains Peter Wullepit. ‘As such, it’s vital that we remap the entire cycle, from energy supply all the way through to waste processing. Only then, can you start to optimise processes and begin to coordinate them with one another to the fullest extent possible.

An example: when compared to previous years, we now have hardly any coarse material in surplus, but much more dust. We’re now looking at how this “new” residue can be turned into energy. 

At the same time, we’re wondering whether the biomass boiler needs to be retained and how solar energy fits into the energy jigsaw. The latter also involves a study into large-scale battery storage.’ 

solar panels

When it comes to decisions, knowledge is power

For things to work like clockwork, you need to complete an all-encompassing test. Everything must be tested.

Peter Wullepit explains, ‘Many decisions depend on need, which means that you have to measure constantly. When are our machines running? Can we reorient certain processes according to energy availability and is there an algorithm that we can apply here? Are our roofs suitable for charging trucks with solar energy at certain times of the day? Are there other areas where we can save energy?

In Menen, we recently carried out a complete “relighting”, which helped to reduce lighting use by 10 per cent. We’re now carrying out a similar lighting study at our site in northern France. These are the first steps in a comprehensive ecological shift.’

The four P's of Decospan

If we briefly zoom out, it is clear that the energy project is just one aspect of a mammoth sustainability plan that’s underpinned by four pillars – people, product, purchase and production

'What I’m working on is part of the production pillar,’ explains Peter. ‘But sustainable interventions appear within all four. A task force has also been established in relation to our products. The team will be investigating what interventions are needed to reduce the environmental impact of a certain product. Purchase is about the origin of our wood and about the rules that we impose on our suppliers. People is shaped by awareness raising and internal initiatives – from an organised cycle day, where everyone cycles to work, to a power lunch on smart energy. All of this helps to create ecological support at Decospan,’ concludes Peter Wullepit.

Work at Decospan
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