A new tool tracks rental equipment emissions, offering insights into opportunities for reducing greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.
Sustainability is top of mind for many in the construction industry. As contractors look to reduce their carbon footprint and meet their sustainability objectives and those of project owners, construction equipment emissions are one area of focus.
Buying or renting electric construction equipment is increasingly an option, but fully electric fleets are a thing of the future. In the meantime, when it comes to reducing the emissions of diesel-powered equipment, the familiar adage applies: You can’t manage what you can’t measure.
Until now, companies have had very limited access to information about the environmental impacts of their rental fleet. A recently launched emissions tracking feature in Total Control®, the United Rentals cloud-based worksite management solution, offers new visibility that can help inform decision-making around fleeting and fleet utilization.
The feature enables customers to monitor the estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their telematics-enabled rental equipment as well as source pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrous oxides and carbon monoxide.
How estimated GHG and engine emissions reporting works
To calculate GHG emissions, the tool estimates how much fuel is used by a piece of equipment during a specified time period. Fuel usage is estimated using engine run-time along with horsepower, approximate engine efficiency, fuel density and EPA load factor. The tool then calculates the estimated associated emissions using a published emission factor for the fuel type.
Customers can run these emissions reports at any time, either for specific pieces of equipment or all their rental equipment, for any time period. Filtering by total engine hours allows contractors to zero in on high-use equipment in order to identify opportunities to make changes that could yield the most significant impact.
Each piece of equipment is a line on the spreadsheet. A quick scan can tell you, for example, that the diesel generator powering a job trailer ran for a maximum of four hours and emitted between 14.45 and 17.66 kg of CO2, or that a gas scissor lift ran for a maximum of 64.3 hours and emitted between 1195 and 1461 kg of CO2. Tracking and sorting the information can provide relevant insights, helping companies better understand emissions across all their rental equipment, equipment used on specific jobs or during certain time periods, and so on.
Working toward increased sustainability in construction requires efforts on multiple fronts. Taking steps such as renting lower-emissions equipment when feasible and making operational changes that lead to lower fuel use can help move the needle. With construction equipment emissions reports from the Total Control, companies have one more tool to help them fine-tune their sustainability strategies.