Greening garages

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


Recycling all plastic, cardboard, paper, aluminum and other metals “to reduce our landfill service by 31 percent, a reduction of 3,744 cubic feet per year.”

Monitoring drivers’ idle time and fuel mpg via monthly downloads and the use of APUs to reduce idle time by 40 percent, equating to reduced emissions, maintenance and fuel use.

Training shop staff to assist drivers with idle reduction and fuel-efficient driving techniques.

Establishing a diesel fuel stabilization program to burn fuel more efficiently at a lower temperature, without a cetane enhancement. Bradshaw says this has produced a fuel economy increase of around 20 percent with fewer emissions and a decrease in engine wear metals.

Upgrading all shop and office lighting to more energy-efficient lighting.

Upgrading the HVAC system to one with a SEER rating (a measure of how well air conditioning equipment works) almost double that of the old system.

University of Georgia, Athens, GA — “We didn’t decide to go green - green wasn’t a buzz word 20 years ago - when I started making changes to how things were done,” says the university’s fleet manager Bill Fox. “Protecting the environment we live in is common sense. As an institute of higher learning, we should use common sense and be a leader/experimenter in every area to go green. Plus, most all of our waste has value, so recycling made fiscal sense as well.”

The fleet runs on CNG and E85 that is made from expired coke syrup - a waste stream not a food stream, he notes, and has electric vehicles. All of the more than 1,600 vehicles - from transit buses to front load garbage trucks to Cushman carts and everything in between - is regularly and properly maintained. Other green practices include:

Using an antifreeze recycling system to recycle waste engine coolant.

Using a water-based parts washer.

Recycling all metals, plastic, office paper and cardboard, as well all waste oils, used filters, spill mats, Freon, batteries and tires.

Saving paper with web-based shop manuals, work orders and cost accounting reports.

Having all interior drains go through an oil separator before going to the sanitary sewer.

Using waterless urinals.

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