Norco banks on conservation

Friday, July 31, 2009

MERIDIAN, Idaho--Many providers are striving for employee efficiency these days, but Norco recently decided to make its newest building work smarter, too.

The provider just finished construction on a new 47,000-square-foot warehouse and retail showroom in Meridian. The new building is loaded with energy-saving features.

“We realized that with a large building like that, anything that would help save energy is going to be good for the environment,” said Chad Mendenhall, director of marketing and public relations. “Initially, the costs are greater, but in the long run, we’re sure we’ll save a lot of money and a lot of energy.”

Skylights in the roof of the warehouse dim the building’s lighting system, depending on the amount of sunlight. Norco also installed a cooling system that evacuates hot air from the warehouse in the summer and draws in cool evening air, thus conserving energy and lowering air conditioning costs.

That’s helpful in an area that experiences several weeks of triple-digit temperatures during the summer months, said Mendenhall.

Throughout the process, Norco shared blueprints with employees and invited feedback, said Mendenhall.

“We were ready to go (with the design) and one employee pointed out that the loading docks were facing north,” he said. “In the winter, that would make it difficult to get ice to melt. We flipped the whole design so they face south instead.”

Employee involvement is nothing new for Norco, which has been in business for 61 years and has about 75 employees at its Meridian location.

“Norco’s always been a family business,” said Mendenhall. “Some of these employees have been here a long time and if they are going to be working here, we might as well make it comfortable for them.”

The Meridian store is the largest of 42 retail locations throughout Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, Washington state, Utah and Wyoming. The company offers a full line of DME, respiratory products and supplies. Norco also has four oxygen filling plants.