September 11-15, 2017
Category: Plant / Production

Another Look at ‘Green’ and ‘Lean’

by John Peter Koss

Qualifying as a “green” beverage facility using the “LEED Approach” was outlined here in January 2010. Basic mindsets, project definition criteria, acceptance, registration, classification and eventual LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Engineering Design) certification were detailed.    

How many beverage facilities have used the LEED approach? The answer is in process as USGBC (United States Green Building Council) continues processing project applications, acknowledging registrations and granting certifications. The USGBC database has expanded, caused by the need for new evaluation criteria; however, from observation, historical knowledge and cost reduction trends, the program could be labeled “A Common Sense Approach” because basic goals involve resource utilization and conservation, continuous improvement in operating methods, advanced technological application and economical operations for a “green” sustainable facility.      

A beverage producer’s viewpoint: “Less comprehensive and expensive approaches have been used when capital or expense projects are developed.” Projects vary, but most have similar expectations as the LEED program: 1) resource utilization, 2) recycling priorities, 3) engineering applications, 4) methodology improvement, 5) environmental impacts, 6) efficiency sustainability and 7) cost containment. Projects use in-house personnel trained and experienced in beverage processes; but this knowledge resource may not provide the “green” mindset. 

In the LEED approach, successful and sustainable projects have used personnel trained and experienced with a more comprehensive “green” and “lean” mindset. The mindset focuses on intense dedications and multi-disciplined teamwork to work with new viewpoints and regulations.  Project reviews verified the dedication and teamwork idea, making it evident—LEED requires closer monitoring and “team” activity. Economic conditions will select approaches to be “greener;” however, plant evaluations determine needs for existing plants, and starting at zero makes a LEED approach more feasible for new plants because nothing exists.    

A best practice begins with organizing multi-functional teams to formulate priorities, make plant evaluations and focus on: How green and lean can we be? 

Some basic guidelines might help:


OP Evaluate and analyze existing conditions. What is necessary, can be improved and can be eliminated?

OP Develop a change plan with responsibilities, schedules and execution monitoring.

SA Raw and packaging materials - input/output analysis – delivery (JIT), storage (security), handling (damage), waste (recycling) 

SA Machinery - flexibility, power, utilization appraisal – capability (need), energy (use), downtime (efficiency)

SA Support Systems – infrastructure assessment – utility (rates), conservation (use), usage (recycling)

SA Staffing – operations breakdown – automation (need), qualifications (training), multi-tasking (necessity)

Guidelines are critical for an integrated green/lean supply chain and require commitment to fundamental concepts involved in operating a green/lean beverage facility. The LEED approach may be more suited for new construction; however, an opportunity exists to make evaluations resulting in green and lean initiatives without excessive expenditures.  


John Peter Koss, a beverage operations advisor, is a licensed registered professional engineer and has 50-plus years of beverage business experience. He can be reached at



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