emde logo 

List of State Officials - Martin O'Malley, Governor; Anthony Brown, Lt. Governor; Shari T. Wilson, MDE Secretary 

Volume IV, Number 2

 December 2009

eMDE is a quarterly publication of the Maryland Department of the Environment. It covers articles on current environmental issues and events in the state. 

Student Intern Helps Protect the Environment, Save Costs

By Laura Armstrong, MDE Pollution Prevention and Sustainability Coordinator

Click on photo to view larger image



Back to this issue's cover page 

A Rockville-based printing company is pursuing recommendations from a student intern to reduce its environmental impact – and save money.

EU Services was already recycling 85 percent of its total waste and had reduced its volatile organic compound emissions by using more environmentally sound alternatives. But the company was specifically interested in minimizing its waste and saving on energy costs.
That’s where Sean Vorsteg came in.

The Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Technology Extension Service (MTES) have partnered since 2000 to place engineering students as summer interns at Maryland manufacturers. The program is supported by federal Pollution Prevention (P2) grant funding allowing the interns to research and implement cost-saving, waste reduction opportunities at the facilities.

In 2008, Vorsteg, then a civil and environmental engineering student at the University of Maryland, interned at EU Services. A provider of printing and direct mail production services, EU Services employs 350 people and occupies a 180,000 square-foot facility. Their processes include electronic pre-press, printing, coating, binding, packaging, mailing, and shipping of documents in various configurations.

Vorsteg visited the facility regularly over the spring and summer months to gather data and information from EU staff, and, with guidance from MTES Environmental Engineering Program Manager Paul Gietka, he identified five projects that would directly lower the company’s environmental impact and result in significant cost savings.

  • Upgrading the fountain solution filtration system used in the lithographic printing process would save an estimated $40,000 per year, reducing water consumption by 95 percent, reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by 360 pounds per year, and lowering energy consumption by 55 percent.
  • Switching to a distillation system to recycle 90 percent of the solvent used to clean rollers would save $25,000 per year, reducing VOC emissions by 21,000 pounds per year and reducing water consumption by 70 percent.
  • Installing energy efficient lighting would reduce energy use for lighting by 58 percent and save $5,800.
  • Installing two high-volume, low-speed fans would reduce energy use by 75 to 85 percent, saving $6,600 per year in energy costs and eliminating 23,000 pounds per year of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 20 cars off the road.
  • Replacing the black roof with a “cool roof,” a white roof that reflects the sun’s rays and emits absorbed radiation back into the atmosphere, would reduce overall energy use by 7 to 15 percent, saving $80,000 annually.

Based on Vorsteg’s report, the company decided to pursue the five priority projects. It has installed one high-volume, low-speed fan and the cool roof above the pressroom facility. Company employees report a five-to-ten degree decrease in temperature, so EU plans to eventually re-roof all of its facilities with cool roofs. The company is in the process of obtaining the funding for the remainder of the projects. 

EU has taken additional steps to reduce VOC emissions and hazardous waste with the purchase of new water-based parts washers and is also reducing energy consumption through a more efficient computer system and by voluntarily shutting down a portion of the pressroom during peak energy times.

"Working with MTES was a great experience for all of us to see what we can do," said Ford James, EU Services’ manager for safety and security. "It is important to our customers and to us to leave the world a better place than when we found it."

Vorsteg said, "Working with EU was great. They really took an interest in lowering their environmental impact, and their support was an integral part of the success of the P2 program." 

While EU Services benefited from the research and resources provided by the intern program, it was beneficial to Vorsteg as well. His work at EU landed him a full-time position at the Maryland Technology Extension Service as Coordinator of Clean Energy Internships. This summer, things will come full circle as he coordinates a group of interns who will perform P2 and energy assessments at Maryland manufacturing companies.

For more information on MDE’s pollution prevention intern program, ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Implementation program (which EU Services also participated in) and on-site P2 technical assistance, go to http://www.mde.state.md.us/BusinessInfoCenter/
PollutionPrevention/technical/index.asp or call MDE Pollution Prevention and Sustainability Coordinator Laura Armstrong at 410-537-4119.


©2009 Copyright MDE

Editorial Board
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230