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At Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner factory under construction in coastal South Carolina, they’re dreaming green.
Like the ultra-efficient airplane soon to be built there, the 1.1 million square-foot (102,193 square meters) final assembly building is about to set a new standard for environmental performance.
Boeing announced a partnership with South Carolina Electric & Gas that will enable Boeing South Carolina to operate as a 100 percent renewable energy site.
"This solar installation will be the sixth largest on a building
in the United States."
“Our 787 Dreamliner is manufactured using fewer hazardous materials and designed to consume less fuel, and produce fewer emissions. It only makes sense that our business operations in South Carolina reflect the environmental progressiveness of the airplane we’ll build here,” said Jim Albaugh, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Renewable energy will be generated in part with thin-film solar laminate panels installed on the new 787 final assembly building roof. This solar installation will provide up to 2.6 megawatts of electrical power, enough to power about 250 homes. The installation will be the largest in southeastern United States by production capacity, and the sixth largest on a building in the country.
“All of the energy generated on this solar roof top will be used on site by Boeing,” said Bob Long, general manager for resources planning at South Carolina Electric & Gas. “We’re actually going to be installing the generator on the customer side of the meter.”
"Our customers expect that Boeing's products and services be environmentally progressive." Mary Armstrong, Boeing Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety.
Construction on the new facility is on schedule, with airplane production due to begin in July 2011. At full production rate, Boeing will assemble and deliver three 787s per month from South Carolina. Boeing’s manufacturing site in Everett, Wash., also produces 787s.
While the solar setup will provide 20% of the power needed for the South Carolina site, the rest will come from other sustainable sources.
“The renewable energy that we’re going to buy here comes from a biomass facility, where they basically take shrub waste, tree waste from construction and process it to generate energy with very low emissions into the atmosphere,” said Rick Muttart, site services director for Boeing South Carolina.
Recycling is an important part of Boeing’s commitment to be a responsible corporate citizen in South Carolina’s Low country. The site, which broke ground in November 2009, will send neither waste nor byproducts to a landfill, instead recycling, reusing or otherwise repurposing.
“Our customers expect that Boeing’s products and services be environmentally progressive, and our communities expect that we take credible actions to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Mary Armstrong, vice president of Environment, Health and Safety for Boeing. “This partnership demonstrates that we share those priorities, and shows that it is possible to commit to renewable energy on a large scale.”