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saving fuel managed fleetsThis is a guest post from Robert J. Hall,  president of Track Your Truck. Track Your Truck is a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems and software for small and midsized companies.

Cars, trucks, and other modes of transportation are responsible for about 28 percent of all GHG (greenhouse gases) produced in the United States. With the emergence of the “Green Movement,” businesses are honing in on methods for controlling GHG emissions and tracking their fleets’ carbon footprint. Fuel cost reductions, government assistance, low road taxes, and a positive image all stand to be gained from a sustainable approach to fleet management, but mostly businesses are concerned with the state of our planet’s environment.

A greener planet is good for all of us; here’s how your fleet can be part of that.

GPS Fleet Tracking

Among many other benefits, a GPS fleet tracking system can significantly reduce fuel consumption, subsequently reducing your company’s carbon footprint. GPS fleet tracking consists of hardware on your vehicles and software for the management of your fleet from a computer. GPS fleet tracking systems offer an overhead view of many different aspects of your fleet.

GPS fleet tracking makes oversight into the activities, locations and fuel consumption of your drivers possible, allowing for the most efficient use of your equipment. Utilizing GPS fleet tracking allows you to bring down out-of-route miles, lower carbon dioxide emissions, and lower costs all around.

Oversight and management of your fleet this way typically reduces idle time, further reducing fuel consumption. GPS fleet tracking systems notify you when any of your drivers are idling for an excessive period of time so action can be taken. Additionally, GPS fleet tracking can provide you with speed alerts and reports. If one of your drivers is speeding, you will be alerted. In addition, the driver will automatically be reminded to slow down. This eliminates excessive fuel waste as a result of speeding and increases the efficiency with which your fleet operates.

Maintenance

You can save on fuel waste with regular maintenance to your vehicles. Making sure that your fleet is in top shape ensures that it is also running at its most efficient level. GPS fleet tracking systems can be utilized, making a maintenance schedule simple.

Regular oil changes, spark plug replacements and changing air filters can make your vehicles burn fuel more efficiently, requiring less fuel and ultimately reducing GHG emissions. Through integration, your GPS fleet tracking system can alert you when maintenance is needed, saving time and keeping your fleet running at its most optimal level. You’ll automatically know when filters or tires need replacing or other work needs to be done.

Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

Lastly, a move to electric or hybrid vehicles for your fleet is one scenario that should be considered. Don’t be deterred by the initial cost; moving to a hybrid or completely electric fleet has proven a high ROI thanks to overall fuel savings.

Moving to a hybrid or electric fleet is the ultimate sustainable approach to reducing your carbon footprint. Additional benefits include lower road taxes and the positive perception that comes with “going green” in the eyes of the public. The U.S. government also provides assistance to companies who are switching to alternative fuels, providing technical support and public recognition.

Not only are there tax breaks, assistance, and cost reductions to be gained when you move to sustainable fleet management; you are also reducing emissions and doing your part to improve Earth’s environment, a noble goal.

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How Solar Panels Contribute Toward Carbon Reduction

On August 30, 2013, in Sustainability, by allisonmreilly
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global warming humanity's impact

I am originally from Hawaii, where solar panels and solar power are not a new concept. Growing up, we always used solar water heating, unless the day was rainy or cloudy. The state is one of the biggest users of solar energy, and has the second highest state tax credit (behind Louisiana) for solar power installation.

It’s easy for a state like Hawaii to jump into solar panels and solar power, where the costs of importing other energy sources drive up everyone’s rates. However, most other states have yet to follow suit, and they are missing out on a valuable opportunity to offset carbon emissions and to reduce their carbon footprint. Here’s how solar panels and solar power do exactly that:

Electricity Generation is the Largest Source of Greenhouse Gases in the United States

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, fossil fuel-fired power plants account for 40% of man-made carbon dioxide emissions. Moving away from fossil fuels, whether that’s done by installing solar panels on your home, your apartment building, or your office building, reduces the emissions of greenhouses gases like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. To truly make progress in changing how our electricity is generated, it’s best to take steps yourself and to do the installations as well as lobby, show support, write letters, and other activist activities. This is because the utility companies are most likely to be using fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, or oil. The biggest difference is made by stopping your own consumption of fossil fuels in conjunction with pressure on utility companies and local governments to make changes. Doing one or the other makes a difference, but not as much of a difference as the two together.

Each U.S. Household Releases of 6.68 Metric Tons of CO2

This number is just an average, and it’s just what’s released from purchasing electricity from your local utility company. Keep in mind that this number does not include the other ways that a household can leave a carbon footprint, such as transportation, heating, and food and product consumption. Even the location of your household makes a difference in your carbon footprint and its size. Planting a single tree removes 0.039 metric tons over its lifetime, but installing solar panels is the equivalent of planting 171 trees each year over the life span of your solar panels (about 20 to 25 years). Although solar power isn’t the only way to reduce your carbon footprint and the carbon footprint of your household, you can still make a big difference in carbon reduction (and your pocketbook) by making some switch to solar panels. Electricity and transportation are the two largest contributors to a household’s carbon footprint.

Solar Panels Become Carbon Negative in Less than Two Years

Yes, it does add to carbon footprint to purchase a few solar panels, as their manufacturing does add something to greenhouse gases. However, solar panels pay for themselves in just a few short years. In less than two year, they are carbon negative, as their savings makes up for what it added to the atmosphere upon its creation. According to Home Power magazine, manufacturing a 100-watt solar panel produces about 960 pounds of CO2. But, in the 20-25 year life span of that solar panel, you offset 8,400 pounds of CO2. Those numbers compound when you install several on your home, apartment building, or office building. The panels also pay for themselves in about four years, with the money you save in using a renewable and cheaper energy source.

Related Links:

The Need for Carbon Reduction [Infographic]

Go Green and Get Certified with EcoLabelling

3 Green Light Tips for Going Green

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reducing your carbon footprintWhether your business is driven by a consciousness to preserve the environment, a way to highly corporate sustainability or accountability, or are just looking for things that could improve your bottom line, reducing your carbon footprint is the thing to do that will meet each of those three needs.

Before you can reduce your carbon footprint, you need to figure out what the current carbon footprint is for your company. To do that use a carbon footprint calculator, and this one is specifically for businesses. Here’s a carbon footprint calculator for you household or for yourself, if you’re interested.

Once you have your carbon footprint, now you can take steps or set a goal of when and how you will reduce that carbon footprint. The best way to reduce your footprint is to offset your carbon emissions. There are a number of ways you could do this. Depending on your company and where all the carbon is coming from, you could consider increasing energy efficiency in buildings, factories, or transportation. You could try and generate electricity from renewables such as wind or solar, or perhaps capture carbon dioxide in forests and agricultural soils. The right way to go about is, is to do what’s right for your business.

There are many different ways that you could reduce your carbon footprint through these offsets, but one way that we suggest is to use nitrogen tire inflation. This is when a fleet chooses to use nitrogen instead of regular air in the tires, and many fleets have seen the benefits of this change. Studies have shown that nitrogen tire inflation will boost fuel efficiency between three and six percent, as well as extend the life of your tire. Three to six percent may not seem like much, but when you have a fleet of 100 or 1000 vehicles, that adds to thousands, maybe even millions, in savings. Those are numbers that are worth bragging about, both to your executives and your customers. Plus, nitrogen tire inflation is something that applies to almost every company. Whether that fleet is of one vehicle, or one million vehicles, improving fuel efficiency and tire life are good things to do.

Overall, even businesses can do something to reduce the carbon footprint. If businesses don’t want regulations on how to do this, then more need to step up to the plate and show they can do it themselves. One of the easiest ways to do this, is through nitrogen tire inflation.

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