- Category: Low-Carbon Biz
06 Feb 2013
- Published on Wednesday, 06 February 2013 09:54
- Hits (1927)
By Catherine Dominguez
Nowadays, businesses are urged to incorporate sustainability in their practices and are challenged to be more responsible citizens who care about the welfare of the environment.
Chevrolet, produced by auto giant General Motors and one of the world's largest car brands, is meeting this challenge and going beyond its business-as-usual operations to espouse corporate responsibility and sustainability.
In November 2010, the company set a target of reducing 8 million metric tons of carbon emissions. To pull off this goal, it is investing in community-based energy efficiency, renewable energy and conservation projects across the United States.
The more recent project of Chevrolet is IdleAir and its technology that enables truckers to avoid idling during rest breaks.
Idling pertains to a running engine that is powering a vehicle when it is not moving. An idling engine uses up only sufficient power to keep itself and its accessories running, therefore, generating no usable power to drive the vehicle.
Idling consumes several billion gallons of fuel and significantly adds to the transportation sector's share of greenhouse gas emissions every year.
Truckers, in particular, are of great concern when we speak of idling because the impact of fuel use and emissions is greater when many vehicles or fleets stop idling.
Consequently, idle reduction, which includes technologies and practices that reduce the amount of time vehicles idle their engines, has become a trend in federal, state, local and fleet policy.
Limiting idle time would equate to saving fuel, engine wear and money while cutting emissions and noise.
IdleAir, by General Motors, provides infrastructure and services to long haul truckers, allowing them to turn off their vehicles when stopped or at rest through a technology that keeps comfortable cabin temperatures and powers appliances, such as small microwave, television or a computer.
“It's very new, its methodology to certify the carbon dioxide,” David Tulauskas, General Motor's sustainability director and manager of the Chevrolet carbon reduction initiative, told EcoSeed.
Providing a better way
Mr. Tulauskas argued that idling is something that every American is very familiar with and can be recognized immediately.
“I think everybody has the same impression as why do these trucks have to idle? Isn’t there a better way?” he said.
According to Mr. Tulauskas, IdleAir is providing that “better way.”
In the U.S., a gallon of diesel costs over $4, which causes truckers a lot of money to idle their vehicles.
With IdleAir, users could save a gallon of diesel fuel per truck per hour. Drivers usually rest during night, so IdleAir utilizes off-peak power and has started mounting solar panels on some of its overhead trusses to deliver solar-powered electricity.
“IdleAir is able to provide the same amenities at a lower cost to these truckers. They are saving money while they continue providing important services to America and shipping goods across the country,” said Mr. Tulauskas.
According to Mr. Tulauskas, the initiative has already served 30,000 drivers and 500 direct fleet partners. Additionally, establishing the sites for the infrastructure creates local jobs and generates tax revenues for the municipality where they are located.
Last year, it is estimated that IdleAir had prevented 1.25 million hours of idling or an average of 1.25 million gallons of fuel savings, offsetting carbon footprint.
So far, IdleAir has more than 30 sites across the U.S., of which 10 were installed in 2012 alone. By 2015, it aims to install a total of 100 sites in the U.S.
Mr. Tulauskas said the IdleAir project is one of over 28 projects that Chevrolet carbon reduction initiative has partnered with and supported as it seeks to meet its voluntary carbon reduction goal. It has, to date, secured commitments for about seven million metric tons of carbon reduction, close to the eight million by 2014 target.
Supporting projects like this are important for Chevrolet, stressed Mr. Tulauskas. “It's an opportunity and a new way to communicate with our costumers...change people's perspective and make a difference.”
“The world is facing a lot of challenges like resource scarcity and climate change, and solutions to these challenges would require companies to go beyond what today is business as usual. We need to operate in different ways and this is one way that Chevrolet is exploring how to operate differently and to have positive impacts in the community that we all live, work, play,” he concluded.