Energy conservation can also be accomplished by automating and controlling building equipment and systems, which promotes more active energy management.
Using good-quality, insulating windows and place windows to allow daylight to reduce lighting use, while providing solar warmth in cool weather. Studies have shown that natural lighting has a positive impact on productivity and well-being.
“Green roofs,” where a vegetative layer is grown on a rooftop, provide shade and remove heat from the air through evapotranspiration, reducing temperatures of the roof surface and the surrounding air. According to the U.S. EPA, on hot summer days, the surface temperature of a green roof can be cooler than the air temperature, whereas the surface of a conventional rooftop can be up to 90 degrees F warmer.
In-floor heating systems reduce utility costs and help improve employee comfort. Solar photovoltaic arrays on the roof can provide on-site renewable energy.
There are also a number of things than can be done for water efficiency. Dual plumbing can be designed to use recycled water for toilet flushing. Wastewater can be minimized by using ultra low-flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and other water-conserving fixtures.
For building construction, passive design strategies can dramatically affect building energy performance. These measures include the building shape and orientation, passive solar design and the use of natural lighting. Using sustainable construction promotes resource conservation and energy efficiency.
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has developed the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification program. It provides third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most. These are energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
While a green maintenance facility may cost more up front, a number of economic benefits come from shop greening. Among them: lower operating costs, improved productivity and optimized life cycle economic performance.
Other paybacks of green buildings are not easily quantified. Things such as improving occupant health and comfort, and reducing pollution and landfill waste are less tangible green building benefits.
The greening of vehicle maintenance facilities can be approached from three angles: maintaining green shops, maintaining green fleets and maintaining alternative fuel/advanced technology equipment, says Suzanne Seivright, manager of regulatory affairs and compliance at Valley Power Systems, a member of the WheelTime Network. “All three offer benefits in future opportunity and new revenue streams, while also requiring investment of resources and time.”
WheelTime is a professional truck care and service network that offers service support through more than 30 training facilities and nearly 200 service centers located across the U.S. and Canada.
She offers the following considerations for those shops getting ready to go “green.”
Maintaining green shops: Green fleets will want to align with green shops and knowledgeable resources, says Seivright, who has extensive experience in the environmental field, working in both the public and private sectors.
“Technicians with experience in hybrid-electric, natural gas and advanced diesel engine and emissions systems may be hard to come by at these early stages of technology adoption,” she says. “Training and retaining factory-trained technicians that specialize in alternative fuel and advanced technology equipment will be key. Once you have them trained, you may find demand for onsite training of customer shop personnel adds extra value to your relationship and extra revenue for your shop.”
Technologies are coming on strong, she notes. In some cases, these are being mandated for use in certain states like California, and those policies are expected to spread to other states in the near future.