Green is our favorite color at Saddle Creek. Chances are, you’ve heard about our ground-breaking CNG fleet which has helped many of our customers to reduce their carbon footprint while making local and regional deliveries. But that’s just one of our eco-friendly initiatives. We believe in taking a multi-pronged approach to sustainability. Here’s a closer look at a few of the latest developments in our transportation division.
Tapping into New Transportation Technology
Just this year, we purchased 20 new diesel tractors with Freightliner’s RunSmart Predictive Cruise Control. This software stores slope data on truck routes, calculates the correct amount of power to apply as trucks are climbing an incline, and holds a truck within 6 percent of set speed while climbing. As a result, the trucks ascend hills at peak fuel efficiency.
Of the 20 new tractors, 13 also have Downsped technology that reduces fuel use by allowing engines to spend more time at the load and speed where they yield better fuel economy. (The remaining tractors have high-efficiency diesel engines.)
We are also in the process of installing event recorders in all of our tractors. These devices record a number of variables, including sudden starts. While the recorders do not prevent sudden starts and the associated excessive fuel use, they create training opportunities to teach drivers how to achieve maximum fuel efficiency.
For improved efficiencies, our vehicles also boast automatic tire inflation systems, trailer skirts, aerodynamic mud flaps, and wheel covers.
Sustainability initiatives are an integral part of our warehouse, packaging and fulfillment operations as well. We actively recycle at our facilities across the country. In 2015, we recycled 1,631 tons of plastics, cardboard, aluminum, and paper in our Lakeland, Fla., facility alone, saving approximately $192,000.
As we look to the future, we continue to seek out further innovation in sustainability. For example, we are converting 50 older diesel tractors into dual CNG-diesel fuel vehicles to further reduce emissions. By replacing diesel-fueled engines with EPA-certified CNG engines, they will replace as much as 70 percent of the diesel used with natural gas. The dual fuel conversion extends the life of these vehicles by six years.
We are also exploring the potential of the ultra-low NOx heavy-duty engine, the world’s first heavy-duty engine that emits oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at levels so low they are considered “near zero.”
We’re proud of our progress to date, and we look forward to finding new ways to improve our sustainability in the years ahead.