Foley Engines not only sells green products like exhaust scrubbers, we are environmentally friendly and increasingly run a “green” facility. Let us illustrate some of the environmentally respectful practices we use in our facility.
1) Cleaning Systems. We clean with industrial baking ovens, not hot tanks. We pioneered in our industry the use of large industrial baking ovens to clean engine castings. A staple of most engine remanufacturers is a 700 gallon or larger, non-insulated “hot tank” filled with a caustic solution. The solution is heated close to the boiling point and engine castings lowered into the tank for degreasing. When the solvent loses its potency, the tank with its toxic solvents is normally drained into a floor drain. The remaining sludge which consists of dangerous heavy metals from bearings and other parts is then shoveled out and disposed of very casually.
Approximately 15 years ago we purchased a large gas-fired industrial baking oven. This well insulated oven has a section of track that rolls out when the door is opened. Our industrial baking oven is a walk-in design and can bake castings from as many as 6 Perkins Model 6354 engines at a time. Every night we load greasy engine castings on the track and then push it back into the oven. We bake these casting at approximately 450 degrees for six hours to remove grease and other dirt. There is no harmful sludge to contend with. Neither the environment nor our people are harmed by the careless disposal of a caustic solution or the mishandling of heavy metals.
2) HVAC Systems. We heat with natural gas not oil. Every year we add insulation and caulking to minimize our use of natural gas. As a result of our efforts we now have 14″ to 16″ (our facility is a Butler-type building and we are not constrained by 2 X 4 stud walls) of fiber glass insulation in our walls with a vapor barrier of 6 mil poly plastic between the insulation and the interior panels. This yields an R factor of R36 and above and has decreased our reliance on natural gas. To avoid losing heat when we are loading engines, the loading area has a double row of clear plastic curtains to contain the heat in the building. Because we have an unobstructed large flat roof, we have an ideal location to install solar panels. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is offering tax incentives to firms like ours to install solar panels and we are pursuing this program. A model for this flat roof solar application is the Harvard Business School gymnasium in Cambridge, MA.
3) POL not allowed. No used oil or other lubricants are allowed in our facility. Signs stating this are prominently posted outside our facility. We will simply not accept an engine shipped in to us with oil in its crankcase. To help people dispose of their oil in a responsible manner, we publish Tech Tip #33, Disposing of Oil. This Tech Tip suggests somewhat tongue in cheek several environmentally friendly ways to dispose of used oil including a recipe for deck stain!
4) Lighting Systems. We use sodium filled light fixtures in our warehouse to reduce electrical consumption. We noticed recently that we had the lights on in our locker rooms for 10 hours a day although the areas were minimally used. We replaced the standard light bulbs with long lasting, more energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs with a 7 year life expectancy.
5) Shipping Material. We use recycled newsprint rather than use a petroleum based product like plastic chips in all of our UPS shipping. This is a win/win: newsprint helps us save money and helps the environment. Our customers do not have to dispose of a box full of plastic chips or Styrofoam.
Engine Stands. At one time we used preformed plastic containers with a metal frame on the inside to ship our engines. Many of these tubs were simply thrown into a land fill after an engine was received at the customer’s site. We recently switched away from the plastic and metal containers and now use locally grown hardwood made by local craftsman for our engine stands. They are environmentally friendly, recyclable (many of these stands have made a dozen or more round trips), and less expensive. See Tech Tip #57, How to Ship an Engine, for specs on how to build your own shipping stand.
6) Ice control. In New England it gets cold, icy, and slippery. Rather than use salt on our sidewalks and loading areas, we use an environmentally friendly and animal friendly ice melting system that consists of particles coated with liquid magnesium chloride.
While a 50 pound bag costs slightly more than a bag of ordinary sodium-based deicer, we buy it by the pallet load and it not only is it environmentally friendly, it is cost effective.