Guillermo Carrillo
Director of Operations
The Haskell Company
View from the Top

Lighting and Water Solutions for Industry

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 15:50

Q: What opportunities first made Haskell enter the Mexican market?

A: We established ourselves in Mexico in 1998, as the needs of one of our US-based clients, Frito-Lay, brought us here. They had a new project in Orizaba that was going to be handled from within Mexico. We ended up running the construction management team, as their team in Mexico did not have the right cultural approach to design and build fast-track projects. When we finished that job, another client from the US asked us for a project in Mexico. Then it started snowballing. Five years later, we became fully established in Mexico and it was clear to the company that the Mexican market was growing and that business here was good for us.

We are also working with Driscoll’s, a leading US agricultural and berry-growing company that grows its products in Michoacan, Guanajuato and Jalisco. We are changing their lighting system from fluorescent lights to LED lighting, and are adding different features to create an intelligent lighting control panel. At the moment, if they want to turn on one light, they have to light up the entire plant. We also encourage them to reuse rainwater in the cooler tunnels where they freeze the fruit and for irrigation. The company does not produce much wastewater, they mostly use water accumulation from their condensers and their sanitary sewer. We treat this water and put it into the soil, on a property that accounts for around 30% of their overall production in Mexico.

Q: A company like Driscoll’s already has its own sustainable practices in place. How difficult is it to convince companies here to switch to green building practices?

A: It is not easy to convince companies in Mexico to invest in green buildings. We have found that many companies come here in order to avoid complying with US regulations. These companies tend to have a green manifesto that they must comply with, but in Mexico it is easier for them to bend the rules. However, we try to incentivize these companies by providing efficient solutions at the same price. That way, they can afford to invest in products such as LED lighting or high efficiency motors. We do everything we can to help save energy on each of our assignments. Essentially, we approach these projects as if we were building a green building, but without seeking certifications such as LEED. That is appealing for clients. It stops them from spending a lot of money on certifying a building, but they still derive the same benefits. We can also help them to become fully certified, of course, but that is a decision for the client to make.

Q: How much demand is there for your water treatment solutions in Mexico?

A: Almost all of our clients ask us to provide water treatment plants. For Honeywell’s facility in Mexicali, we worked on a water treatment system for their aerospace division. It gets extremely hot in Mexicali, and since operating water chillers is more expensive during the day, they are run at night. We found a company in Texas that builds storage tanks for chilled water, so we applied that technology to our solutions. Now, the Mexicali plant produces the chilled water at night, and simply relies on the storage tank during the day.

Q: Which of Haskell’s sustainable solutions have been most popular with clients in Mexico?

A: Haskell’s most popular electrical solutions are motors, remote controls, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) units and lighting options, such as skylights. For example, Procter & Gamble have chosen high efficiency motors and CCMs that allow them to monitor their entire operations through screen panels and rapidly identify what is causing any deficiencies. Our solutions have allowed clients to stop running all of their equipment at 100% all the time. Instead, they can optimize their processes so that, if the equipment is not needed at any specific time, it can go offline. This means that they can run some of their equipment at 20% of its capacity and still fulfill all their production needs.

Q: What new products and technologies is Haskell going to roll out on the Mexican market?

A: We will stay focused on lighting, given the need for it among our clients. However, we are trying to help them produce their own energy internally, through cogeneration. One of our clients in San Luis Potosi produces a lot of steam, which they have simply been releasing into the atmosphere. We are looking into the possibility of establishing a cogeneration system that allows them to use energy generated from that steam in their facilities, and sell the rest to CFE.