Blog written by Findorff’s Chad Baker, Special Projects Group Supervisor
Earth Day is a global event that brings awareness to protecting our planet. This significant day has been celebrated for almost 50 years. As we recognize this environmental movement, I recently had the opportunity to bring a little innovation to support Findorff’s sustainable footprint. What started as a personal passion became the means to make an environmental impact on the construction site.
As mankind has been a little hard on mother Earth, I like to do my share to support our planet. For the past two years, my daughter and I have been building an energy-efficient vehicle, a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter biodiesel camper van equipped with solar panels. The van is made of nearly 100% recycled materials, which otherwise would have gone into a landfill, and produces renewable energy through the solar panels.
Having recently driven my van to work, it caught the attention of several coworkers. The solar panels specifically sparked some interest. As I am also a Supervisor for Findorff’s Special Projects Group (SPG), I drive a designated vehicle that transports our tools from site to site. It is basically an office on wheels! That said, we saw an opportunity. We repurposed my idea and installed solar panels on the SPG van.
Working with Findorff Footprint, our internal team of sustainability experts, we selected low-profile solar panels made in the USA. They help maintain the van’s aerodynamics, so gas mileage is minimally affected. The results have been great.
Before installing the solar panels, the van needed to run for several hours a day to charge power tools in remote locations. With the new system, 12 gallons of fuel are being saved per week. This means the solar panels will pay for themselves in less than one year. Additionally, over the solar panels’ lifetime, nearly 250,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions will be diverted from entering the earth’s atmosphere!
To further minimize our environmental footprint, we are exploring other ways to incorporate renewable energy in the field. This includes solar-powered generators, which charge batteries for cordless tools and trailer offices on project sites. This renewable energy can be used to run a table saw, chipping hammer, or a variety of other small tools.
Although Earth Day is once a year, every day is an opportunity to take small steps to become a more sustainable community. From renewable energy to helping clean our local parks, what we do can make a major difference.
If you are interested in learning more about Findorff’s sustainable efforts, check out our sustainability services or contact our Sustainability Lead Ben Austin. Make sure to also check out our solar-powered van in the news!