Environmental Equipment Management

Sept. 28, 2010

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We welcome your comments.

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By now, the industry is fully aware that environmental regulations are affecting engine design and fuel options. But just where do these changes leave the equipment manager? Who's ensuring the overall environmental impact of equipment is minimized? Who's monitoring emissions, fuels, waste, and the new engine and machine technologies?

Depending on the size of the fleet, a new position of responsibility may need to be created: Fleet Environmental Manager.

Consider the ramifications of winning a job in a nonattainment area, where final award of the bid depends on the ability to guarantee certain maximum emissions levels at any given time, on any given day, over the course of the project. Consider the ramifications for operations in California, where fleets measuring more than 5,000 total horsepower must meet state-mandated emissions requirements by 2010, with others phased in by 2020.

For those fleets that were planning to move along the emissions trail led by the engine manufacturers and OEM's machine upgrades, the responsibility just shifted. Other states are studying California's moves and are now considering ways to accelerate their own emissions goals.

Equipment users have become the favored medium for change, and fleet managers need to start looking at how that change is to be managed.

To this end, Construction Equipment begins a new series this month, "Running Green," to help equipment managers with the new function of environmental management, whether handled by a new hire or as a responsibility absorbed by the current manager.

"Running Green" sets the goal, which we all can agree is worthy, of operating fleets in a spirit of stewardship. Our cover illustration tries to capture that spirit, and our cover story sets the stage for attaining the goal.

Our editors have discussed how to define the environmental manager's function and researched ways to encourage the successful transition into this new responsibility. Although we're hopeful, we're not naive; it will be difficult. This new manager will not just be responsible for determining which bio-fuel to purchase. This new manager will need to rethink the way fleets operate and perform.