As we raise our collective awareness of sustainability, there is a question that is increasing in relevance for savvy consumers today, “How green are the products I use in my life?” It is a question that we can ask not only as homeowners, but as business owners too. Here at Native, we have gotten quite good at challenging ourselves to improve our business, while still reducing our carbon footprint. We recently turned our attention to the environmental impact of our work trucks. Surprisingly, the solution we came up with wasn’t all that half-baked. In fact, it was downright fried.
Converting to Biodiesel
Everyday our team must transport heavy payloads of equipment and materials to job sites all over town. This requires our business to employ a fleet of heavy-duty construction vehicles to make this happen. Hardly known for their gas efficiency, these never-say-die trucks of ours run on diesel, a non-renewable petroleum-based fuel that produces harmful emissions. Thus, a green builder using diesel fuel presented us with quite an internal conflict. That is until we spoke to Jason over at Diesel Green Fuels and together, we came up with a solution …
Biodiesel is a clean-burning, non-toxic, biodegradable diesel fuel alternative that is derived from vegetable oil and animal fat. Unlike petroleum, biodiesel can be harvested from crops, like soybean, sunflower and canola to name a few, or as we learned from Jason, from restaurants, who discard their daily cooking oil waste – yes, that golden fried grease just got a new lease on life. Thanks to Diesel Green Fuels, they can actually vacuum out the used oil from several restaurants and then refine it till it becomes a fully usable fuel in today’s diesel vehicles.
Biodiesel can either be used as fuel in its pure form or be blended with petroleum diesel to varying percentages from five to 20 percent biofuel. These blends can be used in diesel vehicles. Incredibly, many vehicles running on biodiesel blends can still be covered by warranty as well. For nearly the same price as petroleum-based fuel, drivers can make the switch to biodiesel without much added cost or inconvenience. Native runs its diesel fleet on 100% biodiesel without a conversion to the trucks.
In terms of numbers, the United States has produced 4.6 billion gallons of biodiesel since 2005, which has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 56 billion pounds, or what would amount to taking about five million passenger vehicles off the road. Besides no longer contributing to our consumption of fossil fuels and associated emissions, we are keeping just one more “waste” product out of our landfills. On top of that, we are lowering our dependence on foreign oil for one that is made locally within our very own neighborhood towns, which puts jobs back in the hands of those neighbors. That is how purchasing biodiesel for your diesel engine ultimately gives back to your community and your environment tenfold. Lloyd Lee, founder of Native, describes the move as “a no-brainer,” which is why we proudly had Jason install a biodiesel tank in our warehouse. Now, that is good business gone sustainable!