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A local company that offers state-of-the-art products for indoor air systems is doing its part to help improve our region’s outdoor air quality.

 

Watch the video herehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCxasRQXtjc&list=UUopqc-QvhUkCLWLhDbcV_iA

 

DMI Companies has made sustainability a priority ever since its flagship company, Ductmate Industries, was founded in 1978. From inception, Ductmate’s DM35 flange introduced a level of efficiency that revolutionized the heating, ventilation and air conditioning field. The fledgling company took its duct flange—which decreased leakage in duct systems by 95 percent—and made it a model for sustainable business practices.

 

Today, DMI’s first-place finish in the medium business category of the 2013-2014 Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge continues the company’s green legacy. “We like to say our DNA is green,” CEO Ray Yeager says.
In 2004, DMI refurbished the First National Bank building in Charleroi, Washington County, turning the century-old building a model of efficiency and earning it historic landmark status. The finished corporate headquarters for DMI is a blend of antique fixtures—including the original crank elevator, security vaults and teller stations—and modern amenities.

 

For company owner Peter Arnoldt II, it was a point of pride that the office be both world-class and sustainable. The 26,000-square-foot space has a somewhat complex internal HVAC arrangement with six air handling systems; however, the office temperature is kept within one degree on all floors to control occupancy comfort and energy expenditure.

 

Following the advice of several internal energy audits, DMI refit the building’s windows, replaced incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent fixtures, eliminated space heaters and installed low-flow toilets and faucet aerators in bathrooms, among other efficiency measures.

 

The building draws energy from an array of tube-shaped solar panels on the recently retrofitted “green” roof. The whitewashed roof surface absorbs less heat than the dark materials from the previous roof and also reflects sunlight onto the solar panels, enabling their tube shape to absorb energy from all angles. These changes consistently earn the DMI headquarters an Energy Star score above 87—meaning it is more efficient than 87 percent of similar buildings.

 

Since 2007, overall energy consumed dropped in the office from 1.6 million kBtu—a combined measurement of natural gas and electricity use—to 1.25 million kBtu.

 

“We’ve worked to achieve such a high conservation and efficiency level that, in comparison to the average, we’re a bit ahead of the curve,” Arnoldt says.

 

Another lighting retrofit across the river at DMI’s Monongahela production facilities has reduced DMI’s energy consumption by 12 to 15 percent over the past two years at that location.

 

In addition to green infrastructure, DMI also encourages its employees to adopt practices in the workplace and at home that help contribute to cleaner air. Employees earn points in a yearly competition by making green choices, such as recycling, driving a hybrid car, and using washable dishware and reusable grocery bags. An annual awards luncheon recognizes top earners and features a raffle of prizes such as rain barrels, compost bins and gift cards to local sustainable restaurants.

 

Arnoldt describes DMI’s objectives as a triple bottom line approach that considers how a policy benefits the planet, people and the company’s profit.

 

“In the end, it’s the profits that are the most important,” he says. “If you don’t continue to focus on the profits…you’re not going to be in business very long to do the feel-good, warm and fuzzy initiatives that help out the people and the planet.”

 

Green initiatives approached responsibly always save money, according to Yeager, though they may require time and money to perfect. “If you do a return on investment analysis, which we do on all our projects, it is in fact a cost-savings in almost every case,” he says.

 

By Allison Keene, The Heinz Endowments Communications Intern

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