5 (more) ways to reduce your carbon footprint

Truck fleets continue to make green investments, particularly when it comes to adopting fuel-efficient vehicles. But there are other steps companies can take to reduce their carbon footprint, which will help protect the planet, reduce costs and improve reputations with customers and employees.

Here are five steps that trucking companies can help:

(Photo: istock)

1: Refine transportation planning. Use software solutions that automate route planning. Canadian Tire, for example, relies on a route optimization engine to minimize the distances drivers have to travel by matching outgoing and incoming loads as closely as possible. A new system promises to make it even better. Some of the work is dynamic and the system will be able to take this into account.

In his report entitled practices to improve road freight efficiency, The Pembina Institute also suggests strategies such as scheduling deliveries during off-peak hours of the day or switching to late-night deliveries.

The Peel region of Ontario recently completed a pilot for off-peak deliveries with Loblaws, Walmart and the LCBO, among other shippers. Preliminary results show that off-peak travel times were reduced by about 15%, according to the Pembina Institute in its report. And shorter driving times save fuel.

2. Programming thermostats efficiently

Program thermostats to only heat or cool your building when people are in it.

The savings are significant if you don’t overheat or cool the space during hours when no one is around, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) notes in an online document.

3. Use smarter lighting options

Energy use typically accounts for about half of a company’s carbon footprint, notes Elytus, an environmental management company. Installing energy efficient lighting and using Energy Star certified appliances can make a difference.

For example, Purolator operates a network of more than 180 buildings, including hubs, terminals, retail stores and corporate offices. In 2020, emissions related to building heating and cooling were reduced by 8% compared to 2019.

This has been achieved through changes such as upgrading facilities with LED lights and motion sensors. Improvements to seven terminals have saved more than a million kWh of electricity.

4. Reduce, reuse, recycle

The greenest purchase is the one you don’t make. In the office and workshop, think about ways to repair or reuse before throwing away and buying. Install remanufactured parts whenever possible and buy consumables in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging material.

Tire retreading strategies also make a difference. According to Bandag, the retread uses 90 to 100 pounds less raw material than a new tire and the production process uses 68 percent less energy. If a semi-trailer truck were fitted with retreads on all 18 wheels, the saving would be equivalent to the energy needed to power 482 homes for a full day.

At the same time, encourage office workers to use reusable cups and plates instead of single-use containers. BDC says using high-efficiency hand dryers instead of paper towels can also make a difference.

5. Use digital technology wisely

We don’t think about it, but data centers emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide. According to a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature, the daily environmental footprint of an employee working in front of a computer is equivalent to the electricity consumption of 80 lightbulbs switched on. Try to use digital technology responsibly, for example by limiting the number of emails, the number of attachments, and the number of people copied.

Darren Pena

Avid beer trailblazer. Friendly student. Tv geek. Coffee junkie. Total writer. Hipster-friendly internet practitioner. Pop culture fanatic.

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