Learn From the Winners: DST Output
By Richard Romano
Published: July 9, 2012
Going Green’s interviews with the winners of this year’s Fourth Annual Environmental Innovation Awards continue. This week, we speak
with Solon Kobza, Safety Manager of El Dorado Hills, CA’s DST Output
, the winner in the category of Sustainability and Your Processes.
Going Green: Tell us a little bit about DST, where you’re located, what kind of printing you do.
DST Output is located across the US, at least three locations. We provide paper and software solutions for large clients to communicate to their customers. Sometimes that involves large volumes of printing and direct mail, and sometimes it’s all software applications.
GG: The hallmark of your sustainability initiatives is your solar initiative. How did you decide to pursue solar power?
Like many sustainable projects, things will financially become a best practice for the environment and for your budget. Right now, there are incentives to make solar power a very wise decision, both financially and environmentally, and so when those two lines crossed in the graph, that became a reason to move forward.
GG: So how much of DST’s power is powered by solar energy?
Well, we have over 1400 megawatt hours of solar power, but we don’t just have solar power. We also have our own co-gen plants, so we produce our own electricity onsite which produces our cooling for the site, too. Again, it’s a combined solution to get the most out of it. It helps the environment, helps get you a more reliable power source because it’s onsite, and you don’t have to worry about offsite transmission centers.
GG: You wrote on your application that your solar array uses cylindrical solar cells vs. the more traditional flat array. What advantages does that present over the more traditional solar arrays?
It’s not that one is better than the other, necessarily. The cylindrical tube-like solar cells aren’t as heavy as a traditional flat panel. And, therefore, if your roof cannot handle the weight-loading that a large full flat panel would be, then this system could be [a better solution] whereas you might not be able to install any traditional solar. And the tube systems also offer a wide angle for the sun to hit directly on part of the cell providing a higher efficiency at that point.
GG: What other sustainability initiatives are you guys pursuing?
The list is long. We recycle 99% or more of our waste paper and cardboard. We have recycling streams set up for metal, plastic, wood, toner cartridges, aerosol cans, batteries, electronic waste, oil, and more. We do try and make sure that we impact our landfills and our waste streams as minimally as possible and get it all recycled.
GG: What advise would you give to other printers who are interested in pursuing various types of sustainability initiatives?
Sustainability isn’t a challenge. It will be financially in your best interest to follow the crowd and go sustainable, because all the things that are sustainable generally make you have a better bottom line. It’s the right thing to do and there are multiple reasons to do it.
Thanks, and congratulations again, to DST Output for their commitment to environmental sustainability.