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facturing facilities, for example, this means that emissions of residues from all processes should be evaluated and the amount of residue converted to waste minimized, the use of toxic materials in processes should be minimized, and the appropriate emission controls should be installed. Similarly, for an office building from which services are provided, the amount of paper used in the processes underlying the service should be minimized, and the use of recycled paper in all operating processes should be maximized. The use of recycled paper in customer billing, for example, would help make the facility within which the billing operation is housed an ERF, all other things being equal. Evaluation of this aspect of a facility's processes can be accomplished using the environmentally responsible process matrix system (Graedel and Allenby, 1995).
Facility operations can involve a host of disparate activities. For example, the impact of any facility on the environment is heavily weighted by transportation. As with many other aspects of industrial ecology, trade-offs are involved. For example, just-in-time delivery of components and modules has been hailed as cost effective and efficient. Nonetheless, it has been estimated that the largest contributor to the Tokyo smog problem is trucks making just-in-time deliveries. The corporations delivering and those receiving the components and modules bear some degree of responsibility for these emissions. It is sometimes possible to reduce transport demands by improved scheduling and coordination, perhaps in concert with nearby industrial partners. And there may be options that encourage ride sharing, telecommuting, and other activities that reduce overall emissions from employee vehicles.
Material entering or leaving a facility also offers opportunities for useful action. To the extent that the material is related to products, it is captured by the product DFE assessments. Facilities receive and disperse much nonproduct material, however, including food for employee cafeterias, office supplies, restroom supplies, maintenance items such as lubricants, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, and road salt. Frequently, materials and other inputs to a facility are "overpackaged," resulting in substantial unnecessary waste generation. Packaging recycling programs and pressure on suppliers to use environmentally conscious packaging can cut such material consumption significantly. An ERF should have a structured program to evaluate each incoming and outgoing materials stream and to tailor it and its packaging in environmentally responsible directions.
The use of energy by a facility requires careful scrutiny as well, because opportunities for improvement are always present. An example is industrial lighting systems, whose energy needs account for between 5 and 10 percent of air pollution from power plant emissions (in the form of CO2, SO2, heavy metals, and particulates). As with many environmentally related business expenditures, lighting costs are often lumped in with overhead and therefore are not known