Our Green Initiative
Alternative Transportation Project
Willow Run Foods Inc., a Broome County food distribution company that delivers throughout the Northeast, is initiating an alternative transportation project at its state-of-the-art facility in Kirkwood that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The alternative transportation project, which is receiving $1 million from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), includes 15 heavy duty compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks, leased from Ryder System, Inc. (Ryder). In addition, there will be upgrades to Willow Run’s on-site maintenance facility, operated by Ryder, to meet the unique specifications required to service natural gas vehicles.
We have taken many initiatives to decrease our carbon fingerprint including implementing digital lighting. Our major project with our warehousing lighting system stems to save us money as well as reduce the amount of energy that we consume. Below is a description from the manufacturer's website of the lighting system:
Other Initiatives... Line Haul/Recycling
Recently, we have implemented a line haul end to our business where our drivers are not coming back empty. We are able to offer the service to other customers which saves them money as well as not waste valuable fuel for on the return run. (Please see our Logistics page) Of course, recycling is a major priority and recepticals are available in all of our buildings
Summary of Energy Efficiency Projects
Purchase of 15 Compressed Natural Gas Tractors to replace Diesel Tractors. The additional cost of the CNG Tractors versus our Diesel Tractors is $1,185,000. We also need to upgrade our Maintenance Garage for the repairs of the CNG Tractors at a cost of $145,000. We received a Grant of $1,000,000 for this project from NYSERDA and the U.S. Department of Energy. We will be the first Distributor in the United States to deliver our goods regionally using Compressed Natural Gas Tractors. This project will have annual savings of approximately $100,000. October, 2013.
- Replaced 225 High pressure sodium and T5 lights, in our Cooler and Freezer warehouse areas and Refrigerated loading area, with 203 LED light fixtures at a cost of $189,000. We received a Grant in the amount of $93,000 for these lights. This will result in an estimated annual energy savings of $40,000. May, 2012.
- Improvements to the operation and effectiveness of the automatic doors and barriers separating the Freezer and other refrigerated areas from normal warehouse spaces. We replaced the bi-folding power operated doors and vertical sliding doors with overhead rolling doors at a cost of $95,000, with a Grant received for $63,000. Annual energy savings of approximately $16,000. July, 2010.
- Replaced our bi-folding power operated doors that separate the Dry area warehouse from the Cooler dock area with Hybrid Air doors. These doors restrict air flow and controls energy transfer between these different temperature areas. This project cost us approximately $71,000, with a Grant received for $37,500. This change has saved us approximately $11,000 annually. February, 2013.
- Electric powered trailer refrigeration units (ETRU’s) project. To provide electricity to ETRU’s during stationary operation while docked at our warehouse lading bays. This will save the more expensive costs of diesel fuel and also reduce diesel emissions while our trailers are being loaded at the docks. We purchased 9 ETRU equipped refrigeration units. This project did not cost us any funds, although we are saving approximately $7,000 annually in diesel costs. October, 2006.
- Replacement of 6 Variable Frequency Drives at a cost of $11,111. These drives were all 9 to 11 years old and had reached the end of their lifespan. We received a $3,750 Grant for this project, with estimated annual savings of $1,000. September, 2010.
- We had an HVAC Unit that cooled an electric panel room where 3 step down transformers were located. We relocated the transformers into our Warehouse, which eliminated the cooling load, at a cost of $9,230. This project saves us approximately $4,600anually. We did not receive any Grant monies on this project. February, 2013.
- Our Battery room contains the battery chargers for the electric forklifts and is also used for forklift maintenance and repairs. Because of the work that must be completed on the forklifts year round, this room is kept at a constant 70 degrees F to provide a comfortable working area for the mechanics. However, this room is located on the outside edge of the building and has 3,240 square feet of exterior concrete block along its walls. While the block does include insulation inserts, the large surface area of the wall still results in large amounts of energy lost through conduction to the outside environment during cold weather. Energy lost through the walls to the outside environment must be made up with additional heat from the furnace. This project cost us $4,500, with a $2,300 Grant received. Annual savings of approximately $2,500. February, 2011.