Strategies For A Sustainable Shop

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

Other opportunities in this area include replacing manual thermostats with locking, programmable thermostats, routinely inspecting and replacing weatherstripping on doors and caulking around windows every three years to prevent heating and cooling loss.

It’s also important to consider energy performance in any environmental due diligence process when purchasing or leasing a new facility or when purchasing large equipment that requires significant power consumption, such as air compressors, heavy shop equipment, fuel dispensing equipment and vehicle wash equipment. Replacing office equipment and appliances with more efficient models can substantially reduce energy use as well.

One of the most useful no-cost improvements include training employees to turn off lights and equipment that is not in use or needed including outdoor lights, personal computer monitors, lights in occasionally occupied rooms, to name a few.


For those businesses that don’t have the in-house expertise, there are a number of great resources available to help. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program is a voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. Its website,, has many recommendations for products and plans that a business can use to implement an energy management program.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program provides third-party verification and accreditation of green buildings. Building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system and businesses can choose the best fit for their projects.


Sustainability in the shop doesn’t have to end with electricity reduction. Maintenance facilities have another great conservation opportunity when it comes to water, and increasingly in many parts of the country, this is becoming even more important. At many shops, most of the water consumption comes from vehicle washing.

At Ryder we collect more than two million gallons of vehicle wash water from our facilities annually. We handle all wastewater in compliance with regulations, including pretreatment prior to disposal, and we encourage recycling and reuse when practical.

Recycling and reuse programs for automotive waste streams at shops should be a key part of any maintenance facility conservation program. At Ryder, we recycle virtually all automotive waste streams (used oil, oily water, oil filters, solvents and refrigerants).

Examples of recycling best practices include:

  • Crushing used oil filters before recycling which allows for fewer collections.
  • Using retread tires.
  • Recycling automotive batteries.
  • Recycling cleaning solvents, automotive fluids, oil and refrigerants.
  • Donating or recycling used electronic equipment.


Last but not least, once you establish your energy management plan and set goals, it is critical to make sure there are policies in place, incentives to drive behavior change and audits to ensure compliance. We perform environmental audits on more than 600 locations annually.

At Ryder, accountability for environmental compliance rests at the local operations level. We place high importance on training and educating our operators about our policies and best practices.

Nanci Tellam is the group director for environmental services and sustainability for Ryder System (, a Fortune 500 global transportation and supply chain management solutions company. In this position, Tellam is responsible for advancing environmental awareness and sustainability throughout the organization and ensuring that Ryder has the appropriate environmental practices and controls necessary to manage environmental risks and customer needs effectively.

We Recommend