Strategies For A Sustainable Shop

Guide to reaping the many benefits from turning a shop "green."

Resource conservation in a maintenance facility isn’t just a “green” initiative, it’s a matter of cost savings, safety, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, advanced lighting in the work space and continuous improvement. When a business implements and commits to an energy management program, it drives efficiencies and costs savings, enhances customer service and increases productivity and worker safety.

The transportation industry, and maintenance operations in particular, have numerous opportunities to recover and recycle waste streams and improve energy conservation, all of which improve the bottom line. When it comes to resource conservation, we suggest a broad-based approach, including energy management, water conservation, waste stream management and recycling.


The first step to any successful program is measuring existing performance. It’s important to establish a baseline before establishing energy conservation goals.

Ryder monitors and reports electricity, natural gas, water and sewer consumption for all operations in the U.S. and Canada through a dedicated software program. We also track electricity at all United Kingdom facilities.

This allows us to calculate our Scope I (direct GHG emissions) and Scope II (indirect GHG emissions from consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam) greenhouse gas emissions. To track and compute Scope II stationary emissions, we use a tracking model that includes a weather-compensated platform.

The energy management platform models energy demand at each facility and calculates various metrics, including usage per square foot. It then ranks similar sized locations and determines which facilities are the most, and least, energy efficient. The detailed analysis allows us to identify which conservation practices work the best and also helps us decide how to incorporate recommended upgrades to provide the best payback and return on investment.


The next step is to outline a plan for reducing energy consumption and waste. Many people are surprised when they learn how simple improvements can deliver significant returns and environmental benefits. According to utility and energy experts, even simple electricity conservation management practices at each location can easily achieve 3 to 5 percent savings, and that’s without expensive capital investments.

We’ve used a variety of tools to drive energy savings, including an Energy Challenge targeting our top 25 largest users and a company-wide employee Energy Blog to share best practices and resources. In addition, we have standard tools like an Energy Management and Control Checklist for all of our facilities. This tool offers how-to low-cost tips for saving energy.

The checklist identifies opportunities to improve lighting controls, lighting efficiency and heating/cooling efficiency. With lighting controls, there are different ways to manage external and interior lighting. For example, installing timers, motion sensors or photocells on all non-security lighting at fuel islands, wash bays, conference rooms, storage areas and occasional use areas is a simple way to reduce electricity usage.


It’s also very important to look at the efficiency of the actual lighting in a facility. Replacing light fixtures with energy-efficient bulbs is another great way to reduce energy consumption. In fact, Ryder implemented a program that evaluates existing lighting in our shops and where practical, lighting is replaced with energy-efficient fixtures.

One of the most frequently overlooked opportunities in shops today is establishing a routine, systematic inspection and maintenance program for heating and cooling equipment. Inspecting air filters monthly, changing out filters and cleaning drain pans, condensers and coils every six months can reduce kWh use by 5 percent.

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