Online Staff Report
BROOKFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), in partnership with the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition, designated nine new “Illinois Green Fleets” at an event held Dec. 12 at Brookfield Zoo.
The Illinois Green Fleets program provides for “Green Environment, Green Energy, & Green Economics for a Green Illinois,” through the use of clean “American fuels.” It recognizes businesses and local governments for the implementation of alternate fuel vehicles, such as natural gas, propane, ethanol, biodiesel and electric vehicles, in their fleet operations. Information regarding the program can be found at http://www.illinoisgreenfleets.org/.
“These businesses and communities are taking a smart and responsible course, saving natural resources and money at the same time,” said Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D). “I salute these businesses for the example they are setting for people across our state and nation.”
IEPA Director Lisa Bonnett added: “For anyone who has ever heard that going green can save ‘green’ and didn’t believe it can look and see how doing so is helping governments and businesses in their own community. These Green Fleets are an excellent example of what can be accomplished when people make sustainability and environmental protection a priority.”
Darwin Burkhart, program manager for the IEPA and chairman of Chicago Area Clean Cities, added: “We know that the transition to clean fuels and vehicles is not an easy task, but the environmental and cost benefits are quite rewarding. We are seeing more family-owned businesses and local governments make the switch to clean, lower-cost American fuels.”
Following are the nine new Illinois Green Fleets designated Dec. 12:
• Menards, a family-owned Midwest chain of hardware stores, selected Illinois to start implementing propane vehicles and propane autogas sites at many of its stores. To date, Menards operates 140 new propane-powered pickup trucks and publicly available propane fuel stations in front of 35 of its Illinois stores, including those in the Chicago area and its north Springfield store. The company is seeking other businesses and local governments to also “go green” and make use of its propane autogas sites.
• The City of Springfield converted 24 of its police cars and pickup trucks to propane this past summer, which will use about 35,000 gallons of this clean-burning fuel annually and save the city about $82,000 in fuel costs each year. Officials point out that propane use in its fleet will reduce pollutant emissions, including 20 percent for nitrogen oxides, 60 percent for particulates, and 25 percent for greenhouse gases. In addition, Springfield officials have hosted other interested local governments throughout central Illinois to help create more “green fleets” in this part of the state.
• McHenry County Conservation District has been using clean fuels for several years, and 50 of its 63 vehicles, including police cars and maintenance trucks, now use propane and E85 fuels. The district has propane and E85 refueling sites at its locations in McHenry County and plans to be 100 percent green by replacing the remaining 13 conventional vehicles with propane and E85 vehicles in the near future. District officials emphasize that these green vehicles and fuels have reduced the fleet’s operational cost by about $10,000 per vehicle over their typical lifetime.
• Homewood Disposal Service (Homewood) and Rock River Disposal in Rockford are two waste-hauling companies that have implemented new natural gas-powered refuse trucks in their fleets. Homewood Disposal has 30 trucks that run on natural gas at its Homewood and Park Forest locations, with plans to add 60 more trucks over the next five years. Rock River Disposal has generated interest in natural gas vehicles in the Rockford area by recently implementing 10 new trucks. Natural gas-powered refuse trucks have been a trend in Illinois and nationally as a result of the clean emissions and low cost of natural gas.
• Two Chicago-area bakeries, the Turano Baking Company and Alpha Baking Company, recently implemented propane-powered delivery trucks into their fleets. To date, Turano has introduced 27 clean trucks with plans to have all 58 of its trucks running on propane in the near future. Alpha Baking has implemented 22 propane delivery trucks and highlights the fact that the company has wrapped its trucks to advertise that it is operating a green fleet that will reduce more than 2.3 million pounds of pollutants over the trucks’ 250,000-mile lifetime. The company was also recently featured on the Motorweek television series.
• Windy City Limousine in Chicago has converted 11 of its limousines to propane. The company has helped to develop public alternate fuel stations in the area around O’Hare International Airport and plans to convert more of its fleet, possibly including natural gas for its buses, in the future.
• Amerigas Propane was also recognized for implementing several propane-powered trucks in its fleet, with plans to have 20 percent of its Chicago-area fleet operating on this clean fuel by 2015. Amerigas has also been instrumental in working with many other fleet managers in implementing propane vehicles and refueling sites throughout the Chicagoland area.
Posted Dec. 12, 2013