The Battery-Powered and Green Building Evolution is Underway. Will Your Firm Adapt?

22.08.18 10:04 AM Comment(s) By Cratos

It’s a major change – but going electric is easier than you think

The construction sector isn’t among the most adaptable of industries. Diesel-powered vehicles and tools have long been the standard due to industry resistance to change. It’s been a slow process over almost half a century (The Clean Air Act was implemented in 1970) but eco-friendly operations are now more important than ever. Public and governmental voices demand an environmentally-responsible future for the industry.

Construction is producing a quarter of America’s annual non-industrial waste. That’s 160 million tons of pollutants. Add in contributing numbers like 23% of air pollution and 40% of drinking water pollution and it’s no wonder the EPA is drawing the line. One of the first areas due for an overhaul is diesel-powered construction equipment.

History of current regulations and what they cover

All construction equipment making use of diesel fuel must meet stringent standards. Serious environmental and personal health damage can result from their emission of nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. Items such as forklifts, excavators, and utility equipment like pumps, compressors, and generators must comply with the EPA to limit the hazards involved.

Compliance Tiers 1 to 3 has been a steadily-increasing set of strictures since being introduced in 1994 and culminating in the current standard a decade later. Tier 4 regulations set emission limits for all non-road engines, meaning almost every engine not being used on a highway (the exceptions to the rule don’t apply to the construction industry).

The evolving Tiers have led to new technology and improved diesel engines with advanced emission control. The currently acceptable emission levels for compression-ignition engines can be viewed in full here. Some examples of the data:

  • Smoke emissions for multi-cylinder engines may not exceed 15% during lugging, 20% during acceleration, or 50% at the peak in either mode.
  • Engines will be monitored for emissions whether in motion or at rest.
  • EPA requirements for in-use diesel fuel led to the development of an Ultra-Low Sulfur fuel which decreases sulfur levels by more than 99% to 15 parts per million. This Tier 4 advancement illustrates the severity of the regulations

Tier 5 is on the horizon and destined to follow many tighter regulations already in place in Europe. The EPA’s crackdown on toxic emissions is beneficial for workers, the public, and the reputation of the industry, though complying with them has a cost. The persistent fact is that no matter how clean diesel becomes, it will never be pollutant-free. It’s also incapable of reconciling with the changing face of consumer priorities: a want for greener construction across the board.

Tier compliance is only part of what diesel-powered construction firms must demonstrate. Failure to follow the Clean Air Act can bring fines up to $37,500 a day, not to mention the further punishments OSHA may apply if workers or the public may be physically harmed.

Adhering perfectly to the EPA’s many requirements will keep firms on the right side of the law and very probably exhausted. There is a way to cut much of that headache and get ahead of the curve entirely, and that’s by starting to implement a battery-powered fleet of equipment.

How to comply with the law? Get Charged

We’ve been keeping a close watch on the green construction scene. Our previous blog details the meteoric rise of eco-friendly construction and it’s only set to expand. The U.S. Green Building Council reports that 63% of construction firms have worked on green builds with an estimated 40-48% of all non-residential builds being labeled green in recent years.

This shows a powerful public demand for accountability regarding the environment. Why wait? Emissions can be mitigated before the EPA makes new standards official, and in many cases, it can be done without sacrificing powerful on-site performance.

Battery-powered construction equipment offers benefits across the board. Improved staff safety reduces or eliminates personal injury claims. Repair expenses decrease significantly with fewer moving parts, and these items pose a little-to-no risk of crossing EPA or OSHA boundaries.

The on-site options for tomorrow

Consider the Sherpa 100EHD mini skid steer is a heavy-duty flexibility with the option of either remote-control or manual operation can lift over 1000 lbs. It's fully computer-controlled which helps maximize every use of the battery. The Sherpa can tackle a wide range of jobs with its numerous attachments.

The Sherpa 100ECO mini skid steer is the world's first battery-skid steer and runs on a 360-ampere battery powering a two-horsepower electric motor. Like the 100EHD, it doesn't produce any hazardous fumes which allow for more contract opportunities in indoor areas.

The firms that are uninformed about battery-fleet expense are holding off on upgrading. It’s a hesitance the proactive builder can quite literally capitalize on. A quick use of this cost calculator will provide some data on how much you can financially save while playing a part in the green build revolution.

Key green resources and dates

The EPA wants everyone fully informed before a digger hits the dirt on a project. The organization’s MYER guide (Managing Your Environmental Responsibilities) is a field manual providing comprehensive environmental guidelines for the construction industry. It guides firms through every phase of construction, from pre-bid and beyond, and provides the means to self-audit.

The very latest in green developments will be on show at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo from 14-16 November.

Green-minded companies can gain an edge by staying informed on wider industry standards such as LEED. Learn more by visiting the U.S. Green Building Council for the latest updates. Finally, the EPA’s GreenScapes archive still provides many valuable tips and resources to become a more environmentally-responsible construction firm.

As battery power and the construction industry move forward, Cratos Equipment keeps pace. Affordable, efficient, and green are what we stand for, and we're here to empower your site. You can reach us at (954)-978 3440 or send us a message detailing your needs.

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