At Soto, our hard-working determined nature drives our team to produce and provide quality services and designs. A key-value we uphold is the efficiency of how our structures and machinery are designed. By applying this key-value to our projects, we can minimise energy losses and/or material waste. This is important to Soto because how we design affects the environment, and we have a duty (as we all do) to reduce the strain on the Earths resources.
“Though why stop with how we Engineer?”
The importance of our environmental impact shouldn’t be limited to the design of our projects but should also encompass the space and building that the Soto team operates in.
To drive this view, in early 2020 Soto began a journey to become AS/NZS ISO 14001 accredited. To do so, Soto implemented an environmental management system based on AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016. Soto has achieved this accreditation and it “serve[s] as a driver and reminder that it is everyone’s job to protect the environment by preventing pollution and continually improving the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the earth we inhabit.” (Soto Environment Awareness Presentation, 2020)
Firstly, simple practices were put in place regarding recycling, minimising printing, reducing the use of unnecessary plastics, to name a few. Next, a greater change was implemented; all lights within the Soto office were changed from Fluorescent tubes to LED panels. These new light panels were energy savers, recyclable, have a long life and even produced a better quality of light for the Soto team to work in.
To complement our reduction in energy usage due to the LED panels, our sights turned to the production of our own electricity. In May 2020 the Soto building had 60 solar panels installed on its roof by AG Energy. Each solar panel is 330 watts, therefore totalling a 19.8 kW Solar PV system situated all on the roof of the Soto office. The solar panels have been placed in optimal positions, with the eastern end of the building having 26 solar panels facing North-East and the 34 other panels on the western side facing North-West. The Soto office roof also has no obstructions from trees or other buildings, therefore, increasing the efficiency of the solar panels. By having this Solar PV system installed, a total of 21 tonnes of CO2 will be avoided every year! This equates to the same amount of CO2 produced by 450 long haul flights.
Our quarterly report has shown great results even though the measured period was over winter. 2.665MWh of solar was consumed on-site and a total of 0.701MWh of solar was exported to the grid. The solar power produced doesn’t cover all of the power needed to run the Soto office but it does make a significant impact. And the weekends still provide a time where excess power can be fed back into the grid. Come summer the amount of power produced by the solar panels should greatly increase and therefore reducing our reliance on energy from the grid.
Soto is harnessing the Suns power, to engineer for a brighter future. Because engineering is thinking innovatively, creating structures, machinery, processes and more, all to make our lives easier and to improve our future. So Soto will continue to engineer for not only our future but the Earths too.
Because the ‘everything’ in our Everything Engineered motto includes thinking of the world we live in.