Greening garages

How maintenance shops are deriving savings and benefits from becoming environmentally responsible


Steel wheels are reconditioned and reused.

Shop heating systems have been replaced with infrared heaters, improving heating efficiency by approximately 25 percent.

Reducing the use of paper by 80 percent by replacing paper work orders with real-time data entry.

Ryder System, Miami, FL — All of Ryder’s environmental efforts must first meet the litmus test of being good for business - driving bottom line savings, improving efficiencies or enhancing customer service, says Nanci Tellam, group director, environmental services and sustainability. “The energy conservation program, specifically, is where we are seeing measurable economic results. Upgrading facilities with energy efficient lighting, HVAC equipment and building materials can pay dividends for years, if done correctly.”

Electricity use, Ryder’s primary source of stationary emissions, is being tracked using a weather-compensated tracking platform that can compute energy demands at each facility and calculate various metrics, including per square foot usage as a benchmark, ranking similar sized locations and determining which shops are the most and least energy efficient. “This detailed analysis allows us to identify which conservation practices work the best and also helps us to then decide how to incorporate recommended upgrades to provide the best payback and return on investment,” Tellam says.

Ryder has developed several Energy Conservation Checklists for its facilities that include best practices for facility management, lighting and atmospheric controls. “‘These tools offer no-to-low cost tips for saving energy,” she notes. Some examples of actions on Ryder’s checklist, which can produce a 5 to 10 percent energy savings, include:

Replace manual thermostats with locking, programmable thermostats and set thermostats to 68 degrees for the winter and 76 degrees for the summer.

Install timers or sensing controls on all non-security lighting at the fuel island, wash bay and storage areas.

Routinely inspect and replace weather stripping on doors and caulking around windows every three years to prevent heating and cooling loss.

“One of the most frequently overlooked opportunities in shops today is establishing a routine, systematic maintenance program for heating and cooling equipment,” points out Tellam. “Simple things like inspecting air filters monthly and changing out filters when needed so that air flows freely, and cleaning drain pans, condensers and coils every 6 months or as needed to keep systems operating at peak performance can reduce kWh use by 5 percent.”

Ryder operates approximately 1,000 vehicle maintenance facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Last year, it recycled more than 2.7 million gallons of used oil, 961,000 gallons of oily water, 6,000 drums of used automotive oil filters and more than 28,000 gallons of used solvent.

Smithfield Packing

Transportation Company, Tar Heel, NC — The fleet maintenance facilities for Smithfield Foods Company’s fleet of refrigerated vehicles has implemented environmental management systems modeled after ISO 14001. Also a member of the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership, it started its green shop movement in 2002 because “we felt that it was our social and moral responsibility, says Gary Bradshaw, service manager.

“We started with simple things, such as changing out lighting as bulbs and fixtures failed, and took advantage of green repairs and replacement as capital equipment aged out,” he explains. “Not only do we look at the immediate benefits, we also consider the long-term gains.”

The shops’ greening efforts include:

Heating the shop using waste oil which is safely stored onsite. “This has reduced our facilities’ LP gas usage by 86 percent or 11,236 gallons per year,” Bradshaw notes.

Extending oil drain intervals using bypass oil filtration. The fleet started testing bypass oil filtration 20 months ago and has extended drain intervals up to 4 times longer than standard filtration.

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