Technology Today

2011 Issue 2

Preserving the Environment for Future Generations

Preserving the Environment for Future Generations

Raytheon has a long history of environmental stewardship. The company has employed dedicated environmental and energy staff positions at corporate headquarters and operating locations since 1970. Raytheon's sustainability program underscores our commitment to future generations by engaging our employees, customers, suppliers and communities to protect our environment and conserve natural resources.

Strategic environmental focus areas:

  • Recycling and waste minimization
  • Greenhouse gas emission reductions
  • Energy efficiency
  • Water conservation
  • Design for sustainability
  • Eco-friendly supply chain
  • Environmental stewardship


Recycling and Waste Minimization

Raytheon has had a robust waste reduction and recycling program since the 1970s that has evolved over the years to become best-in-class. Reducing waste and maximizing recycling has become part of Raytheon's culture. As a result of our efforts across the enterprise, we have been recognized by numerous state, local and federal organizations for our exemplary waste reduction efforts.

As of year-end 2010, our companywide recycling rate for solid waste was 64 percent. Since 1998, we have reduced our generation of solid waste by 58 percent, normalized by revenue. In 2008, we set a long-term sustainability goal to reduce the volume of landfill and incinerated solid waste by 25 percent by 2013; as of year-end 2010, we achieved a 17 percent reduction, normalized by revenue.

We continue to "green" not only our operations, but also our dining facilities. Over the last several years, we have purged our dining facilities of polystyrene and replaced to-go meal packaging with environmentally preferable materials that are compostable. During 2010, we composted more than 569 tons of organic materials that were incorporated into landscaping materials. We now encourage the use of reusable dining ware in our facilities to reduce waste generation. Our New England facilities led the way on these initiatives, and they are now propagating to Raytheon facilities across the country and in the United Kingdom. Our Aurora, Colo. facility led the way in composting pulverized paper generated from on-site disintegration of classified documents.

Since 2008, we reduced our use of potable water by 15 percent, saving more than 190 million gallons of water. Across the company, we use more than 54 million gallons of recycled water annually. Our California locations alone use 39 million gallons. Our locations have begun the installation of smart irrigation systems, which use a computer controller that takes into account past and predicted precipitation events. These systems help to minimize irrigation water demand across the company. We continue to pursue additional water reduction techniques and equipment, including cooling tower upgrades, low-flow plumbing fixtures and process modifications.

Raytheon's energy conservation program has been in place since the 1970s. Minimizing energy use has always been a priority for our company. We have been a charter member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Climate Leaders® program since 2002. Since that year, Raytheon has reduced absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 21 percent, eliminating more than 570,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions cumulatively. Since 2008, Raytheon has bought 31,000 megawatt hours of green electricity in the form of renewable energy certificates. For the fourth consecutive year, the EPA awarded Raytheon the 2011 ENERGY STAR® Award for Sustained Excellence in Energy Management. We continue to pursue our long-term goal of an additional absolute 10 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2015.

We are also partnering with our office supplier, Staples®, on numerous sustainability initiatives, including packaging reduction, responsible end-of-life electronics management, toner and ink cartridge recycling, and a reduction in vehicle trips to our facilities by eliminating one day each week of deliveries.

 

Frank Marino



From Trash to Clean Renewable Power

Approximately 70 percent of the electricity in the U.S. is generated using fossil fuels, mainly coal and natural gas. Burning fossil fuels for power generation is the nation's single largest source of industrial air pollution, and it is the leading contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. Despite advances in renewable energy during the last decade, less than three percent of U.S. electricity comes from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro or biomass projects.

Electricity markets have changed over time and now offer some consumers the ability to buy power that is generated from renewable sources, or green power, primarily from wind farms. Buying green power reduces the company's carbon footprint. Supporting renewable energy also assists in promoting energy security and energy independence, two increasingly important national security goals.

Figure 1

Five North Texas Raytheon sites are buying approximately 25 percent of their electricity, — about 24,000 MWh a year — from one particular renewable energy project located at a solid waste landfill. The McKinney, Texas, landfill used for this project is a closed landfill, meaning it no longer accepts materials. Electricity is generated using biogas (methane) a renewable energy source from the landfill. Natural gas that is burned in our heaters, boilers and gas ranges contains 70 to 90 percent methane. Buying this green power will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 12,000 metric tons a year — a 20 percent reduction of the five sites' total greenhouse gas emissions.

Raytheon will purchase 100 percent of the green electricity that is generated from this landfill gas project through a regional retail energy provider. Raytheon's agreement to purchase the electricity was a driving factor for the construction of the renewable energy project. The biogas from the landfill is generated from the slow decomposition of organic waste materials. It is primarily composed of methane gas, which has a global warming potential 21 times higher than carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas.

The process, shown in Figure 1, is conceptually very simple: Extract the biogas from the landfill through a piping network, compress the gas to a usable pressure and remove impurities like water vapor. The gas is then combusted in an engine that drives the generator to create electricity, which is then supplied to the electrical distribution grid. The byproducts from the methane combustion are carbon dioxide — a less potent greenhouse gas — and water. Capturing and combusting the biogas from the landfill minimizes odors and destroys other undesirable gasses that may otherwise be released to the environment. The real advantage, however, is that the methane is consumed with no net greenhouse gas emissions. This means that the same amount of carbon that was previously absorbed or sequestered by the organics during their life cycle is then released during decomposition and combustion. So the process benefits Raytheon, the electricity provider, the community and the environment.

 

Reese Brentzel



Reducing Energy Use of Environmental Test Chambers

Some of the largest consumers of electricity at one of our Raytheon North Texas sites are the environmental test chambers used for thermal testing of our products. These chambers are used to test products such as circuit cards, night vision rifle sights, rocket launchers, and airborne surveillance and targeting systems. Products are tested in temperatures ranging between 75 degrees Celsius and minus 65 degrees Celsius to ensure they perform properly across a wide range of environmental conditions.

Figure 2

A typical chamber employs two 30-horsepower motors/compressors to cool the system. These compressors are properly sized to achieve the rapid temperature changes required. Once the temperature is reached, however, the system refrigerant is pulsed through a bypass circuit, since only a small amount of cooling is required to maintain the chamber temperature. While these compressors are running, the chamber is consuming about 40 kilowatts of power. Running almost 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, each chamber's energy consumption can exceed 300,000 kilowatt hours per year.

In an effort to reduce this energy demand, Raytheon developed a smaller version of the standard refrigeration system that could be added to an existing chamber along with a more advanced controller to sense cooling demand. The enhanced system uses the original cooling system to accomplish rapid temperature changes, but when the chamber has reached its target temperature, the main cooling system is shut down and the smaller mini-cooler takes over the task of maintaining chamber conditions. This dramatically reduces the amount of electricity needed to perform a typical production temperature cycle.

The installation of these mini-coolers began in June 2010 and had an immediate impact on electricity usage (see Figure 2). Although results vary depending on individual test requirements, most typical applications have reduced overall electricity usage by 50 to 65 percent. At our current workload, we expect to save about 4 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. This equates to at least 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide that won't be released into the atmosphere each year, which is a significant step in producing a more sustainable factory. For each retrofitted test chamber, the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of 20 cars. We expect to have 50 mini-cooler units in place by the end of 2011.

 

Mark Taylor



Conserving California's Water Supply

A significant aspect of Raytheon's Southern California operations is the extensive use of recycled water for irrigation and cooling tower make-up water (water supplied — such as to a steam boiler or cooling tower — to compensate for losses by evaporation). These measures save water, energy, money and the environment.

The recycled irrigation water project is conducted in collaboration with the West Basin Municipal Water District. The district treats municipal wastewater to various levels of cleanliness and then redistributes it for specific uses. The recycled water is used in various applications, including irrigation, groundwater discharge to prevent salt water intrusion, and oil refinery cooling towers and boilers. Raytheon uses this imported recycled water for campus irrigation, which saves 84-acre-feet a year of imported water — enough to fill 84 football stadiums to a one-foot depth (or 27 million gallons) annually. Use of this recycled water eliminates the need for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to import potable water from numerous surface water supplies in Northern California through an extensive aqueduct system that diverts water from the Colorado River.

Raytheon's El Segundo campus also recycles its own wastewater with an on-site waste treatment plant. The treatment plant's effluent is used for water make-up in on-site cooling towers. This process saves more than 15 million gallons of potable water per year. Total cost savings from the use of the imported recycled water and the reuse of on-site treated water is approximately $35,000 per year.

Saving money helps Raytheon run more efficiently and aligns with our sustainability goals, but the real driver here is to "do the right thing" by taking steps to conserve our precious potable water supplies in Southern California.

 

Christopher Cumming, Patty Menjivar



Sustainable Engineering

Raytheon and our suppliers use a wide range of materials and substances. In order to facilitate and coordinate global substance management and compliance across the company, Raytheon's sustainable engineering activities are organized through the Global Substances Program, an enterprisewide, cross-functional network for the development and implementation of materials sustainment technologies and processes.

Material use requirements and restrictions are constantly changing, resulting in both significant challenges and opportunities. Raytheon is leading the Aerospace Industries Association's Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals regulation (REACH) Working Group and AIA's REACH Information Technology (IT) effort to coordinate industry approaches for addressing the changing regulatory environment.

Figure 3

The European Union's REACH regulation went into effect in 2007. It replaced 40 different chemical regulations already in existence in the EU and has been a catalyst for the development and reformation of chemical policy around the world. With many countries adopting similar types of legislation, it's important for Raytheon to approach these issues in a consistent manner. In October 2010, Raytheon, as part of a 13-member AIA delegation, participated in a meeting in Toulouse, France, with U.S. aerospace industry engineers, scientists and policy experts and their European aerospace industry counterparts (Figure 3). The meeting focused on impacts to aerospace industry practices with respect to the European Union REACH regulations. The participants identified REACH-related issues common to aerospace industry companies on both sides of the Atlantic, and an agreement was made to continue working on the tools and processes necessary to address the challenges posed by REACH chemical regulations, particularly those that impact product design, quality, safety, and aerospace material availability and cost.

Additionally, through the Global Substances Program, Raytheon participates in international, government and university consortia, such as the Advanced Surface Engineering Technologies for Sustainable Defense (ASETSDefense) initiative, to communicate ideas and technical findings. The objective of ASETSDefense is to facilitate the introduction of new, environmentally friendly technologies for surface engineering (coatings and surface treatments).

Sally Gestautas



Information Technology for Sustainability

Raytheon's IT Sustainability program supports business sustainability activities throughout the company, in addition to reducing the environmental footprint of IT operations.

Energy use is reduced through server virtualization, making more efficient use of computers in data centers. This has been accompanied by energy efficient improvements in the design of the data centers themselves. Since 2008, Raytheon has reduced its power demand for server rooms by 2 megawatts, which is the equivalent to the power demand of 2,000 homes, and reduced annual expenses by more than $23 million. A system that conserves the power of desktop computers when they are not being used at night has saved additional energy and money. Another portion of the IT sustainability footprint is electronic waste, which is addressed through an aggressive and responsible recycling program.

In support of sustainable business activities, the use of an integrated set of IT technologies enables employees to reduce their commuting footprint by working from home on a regular or occasional basis. The program also employs IT resources and associated analytics to provide real-time actionable information for managing the consumption of resources.

Through these measures, and through an active IT social networking environment for sharing best practices at home and work, Raytheon has built a strong culture of awareness and continuous improvement.

Brian J. Moore

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