ASSA ABLOYS Sargent has evolved from an old line lock company to a company with more and sustainable buidling solutions.
By Claudia Ward-de León
In a time when many are jumping on the solar bandwagon, New Haven lock manufacturer ASSA ABLOY is leading with sustainable innovations that defy ordinary for the region. Using sustainable technology, education, and practices, it is providing the means for many of its customers to become more energy efficient while also decreasing its own resource consumption. The company, which primarily manufactures locks, key systems, deadbolts, and padlocks, does so from two facilities in Connecticut—one on Sargent Drive in New Haven, and the other in Berlin. At the New Haven facility, a security lock is being developed that harvests the power of any available light source, including standard indoor lighting or sunlight, enabling the lock to mainly run off the solar energy it stores. Primarily used in institutional settings like hospitals and colleges where people typically have to swipe a badge or key card for access, the IN120 WiFi lock is a front-runner in its industry as far as commercial solar applications go.
The company’s holistic position on sustainability includes scrutinization and refining of its own operations and practices, and in that sense, ASSA ABLOY leads by example. From installing solar-powered fixtures that illuminate its flag at night to finding ways that ensure certain manufactured products are plated in a “closed loop” so that the water used during plating goes back into the facility for reuse, Amy Vigneux, the company’s Director of Sustainable Building Solutions says education and awareness are critical parts of the solution when it comes to sustainability. The manufacturing processes in New Haven are GreenCircle Certified, meaning that an audit of energy and water use was completed, including analyzing factors such as the amount of waste diverted from landfills between 2011-2015. The GreenCircle Certification, a strict independent verification process, ensures companies aren’t making deceptive claims in the marketplace or “greenwashing.” While the New Haven facility is 60 years old, many of the upgrades, audits, and a feasibility study will enable the company to apply for a LEED certification for existing buildings in the future.
Today, however, perhaps the most remarkable way that ASSA ABLOY is reducing its environmental impact is best demonstrated at its Berlin facility where it manufactures Yale and Corbin Russwin brand locks and McKinney hinges. Going online last July, the company installed a solar photovoltaic system that covers 4.3 acres of the field adjacent to the facility, roughly three football fields. These solar fields provide 20% of the power required for manufacturing and office-related energy consumption. A goal is that a second phase of the project will supply 50% of the facility’s required energy. Thanks to live data of the photovoltaic field’s production accessible online, a recent reading reported that in the last month alone, the cells have saved the Berlin facility 4,341 gallons of gas.