June 1, 2009
Sustainability initiatives and green building products are a burgeoning segment of the construction industry. Find out about the latest efforts made by OEMs, as well as the latest innovations and resources for the rental industry.

EPA Awards Caterpillar's D7E Electric-Drive Tractor

Caterpillar Inc. was recently awarded the Environmental Protection Agency Clean Air Excellence Award for its D7E track-type tractor with electric drive. The electric drive system is the first of its kind in this application, designed to maximize efficiency and productivity while conserving natural resources.

The diesel-electric drive technology uses a diesel engine to drive an electric generator that powers two AC electric drive motors. The D7E track-type tractor (bulldozer) increases dozing efficiency by 25 percent, reduces fuel consumption by 10 to 30 percent, and reduces criteria and greenhouse gas emissions. The total emissions reductions from productivity increase and fuel savings per hour are: 10 percent for CO, 20 percent for NOx and HC, 51 percent for PM and 23 percent for CO2.

“Caterpillar is committed to improving the sustainability of our customers, our industry and our shared environment,” said Tana Utley, Caterpillar's chief technology officer, who accepted the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. “We are proud of the D7E and the significant improvements in fuel efficiency and productivity it will provide our customers, ultimately helping them cut costs and reduce emissions. This accomplishment proves technology can improve both customer value and sustainability. Technology unleashes the power of ‘and,' which makes sustainable progress possible.”

The award was established in 2000 at the recommendation of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee. It annually recognizes and honors outstanding innovative efforts to help make progress in achieving cleaner air. Award-winning entries must directly or indirectly reduce pollutant emissions, demonstrate innovation, offer sustainable outcomes and provide a model for others to follow.

“Each year, our Clean Air Excellence Award winners offer amazing new examples of how we keep our air safe and clean,” said EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson. “This year's award recipients have built on that tradition of innovation to show what is possible in protecting human health and the environment.”

For more information about the D7E with electric drive, visit www.cat.com/D7E.

CARB Fines United Rentals for Emission Violations

The California Air Resources Board last month fined United Rentals $166,800 for diesel emissions violations that occurred throughout the state in 2007 and 2008.

An ARB investigation found emissions violations occurred throughout Greenwich, Conn.-based United Rentals' California facilities in Sacramento, San Jose, Bakersfield, Fresno, Long Beach, Riverside, Oakland and San Francisco.

“Everyone should do their part to keep California's air clean,” said ARB chairman Mary Nichols. “Meeting clean-air standards is a requirement for businesses throughout the state.”

The law requires annual smoke tests for diesel fleets and, in conjunction with ARB's roadside smoke-inspection program, ensures that all vehicles are properly maintained, tamper-free and free from excessive smoke emissions.

United Rentals is required to:

  • Guarantee employees responsible for conducting the inspections attend a California Community College training class on diesel emissions compliance testing and provide certificates of completion within one year;

  • Provide documentation to ARB that the inspections are being carried out for the next four years;

  • Ensure all of the company's on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles have their software updated with the latest low-NOx (oxides of nitrogen emissions) programming;

  • Instruct vehicle operators to comply with the state's idling regulations for on- and off-road diesel-powered vehicles;

  • Comply with all other applicable ARB regulations;

  • Ensure that all diesel trucks are up to federal emissions standards for the vehicle model year and are properly labeled with the manufacturer's emissions control engine-certification label.

United Rentals will pay $166,800 in penalties: $125,100 to the California Air Pollution Fund that provides money for projects and research to improve California's air quality; $20,850 will go to the Peralta Community College District to fund emissions education classes conducted by participating California community colleges; and the remaining $20,850 will go to the California Pollution Control Financing Authority that guarantees loans to off-road vehicle fleets that need to buy exhaust retrofits to comply with state regulations.

Diesel particulate emissions are associated with causing a variety of health effects including premature death, and heart and lung diseases.

Submit green products and technologies, and sustainability innovations for consideration in EnviroRent to Brandey Smith at [email protected].