Klipsch Explores Greener Approach to High-Performance Audio
4/8/2009 12:03 PM
While Earth Day, which takes place on April 22, is the perfect time to reflect on what you are doing to help protect the environment, Klipsch, the Indianapolis-based speaker brand, continuously looks at new, earth-friendly ways to build its products.
"We carry a strong sense of responsibility when it comes to preserving the environment," said Paul Jacobs, president and COO of Klipsch Group Inc. "Klipsch has been delivering highly efficient speakers since 1946, but that's not enough when you consider climate change and how it's negatively impacting our world today. We're always looking for earth-friendly ways to run our business. From engineering and manufacturing to product packaging and displays, we want to remain committed to understanding "green" concepts as we shape our future product plans."
All Klipsch products are RoHS (reduction of hazardous substances) compliant, meaning they do not contain substances that are harmful to humans or the environment. The company also has made energy improvements to its RoHS-compliant production plants, using more efficient heat sources and insulation.
At its Hope, Arkansas manufacturing facility, Klipsch is researching solar power as a way to service a variety of electrical needs, as well as investigating new finishing processes that have lower volatile organic compounds, or VOC, emissions and/or waste by-products. Klipsch also secured funding from the state of Arkansas to conduct an energy study of the facility. As a result, the company implemented several recommended changes, including the installation of a new air make-up unit as well as re-routing heated air back into the factory, rather than allowing it to escape outside.
Additionally, Klipsch has re-configured how it powers up and shuts down the factory each day, re-evaluated its nighttime security lights, and changed its lighting to lower consumption alternatives. These updates have resulted in a 30 percent reduction in electrical costs and a 52 percent reduction in gas consumption over the past two years. Then again, Klipsch has been implementing "green" processes well before the environmentalism movement.
Company founder Paul W. Klipsch discovered that the use of horn technology is the best way to achieve high efficiency and low distortion from a speaker. While average home loudspeakers require one watt of audio power in order to produce 85 to 88dB sound levels, Klipsch speakers can produce 3 to 6 dB more sound output using that same watt. A 3 to 15dB range is more typical if you include the company's founding product, the Klipschorn. If you consider only a 6dB difference, that reduces amplifier power needs by a factor of four, cutting amplifier electricity utilization by 75 percent and ultimately helping save the environment, according to the manufacturer.
Klipsch's last point is that its speakers are not built with obsolescence in mind. "We've been manufacturing long-lasting products for over 60 years, and we support them with repair parts and valuable customer service to keep them running. Therefore, these products are seldom disposed of and often get handed down from generation to generation," Jacobs concluded.