COMPANY: Golden State Foods, Garner, NC
OPERATION: A multinational, diversified supplier to the quick-service restaurant and retail industries. Golden State has more than 7,000 employees worldwide and supplies more than 125,000 restaurants and stores on five continents from its 50 facilities. Its core businesses include processing liquid and dairy products, meat patties, and produce and providing related logistics services.
CHALLENGE: Fuel is burned, emissions are increased, and maintenance costs are incurred due to trucks idling engines to power refrigeration units.
Truck idling is one of the most common targets for cost reduction among fleets today. It burns fuel, racks up runtime and maintenance needs for engines, and produces harmful emissions—all of which could potentially be avoided, saving money and helping the environment at the same time.
But when you're distributing refrigerated food goods and using the engine to power reefer units, idling happens all the time. At Golden State Foods' distribution center in Garner, the company's 65 trucks were burning some 80,000 gal. of diesel each year to keep food cold as it was awaiting delivery runs. Taking an average cost of diesel of $3/gal., that's $240,000 just for the fuel alone, and that's not accounting for other associated costs.
It's not only a dilemma for Golden State Foods: according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), long-duration truck idling in the United States soaks up more than a billion gallons of fuel and creates 11 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. An hour of idling uses a gallon of fuel on average.
SOLUTION: Install SafeConnect standby power outlets to run truck refrigeration units at the depot on electric power instead.
Looking for an alternative, Golden State Foods turned to SafeConnect Systems, maker of hybrid transportation refrigeration units that can be powered either by diesel or electric power. SafeConnect has developed an electric standby system with a special circuit for safer operation at the high voltages required.
A total of 32 electric power outlets that SafeConnect installed will help Golden State Foods' trucks switch off, cutting costs and lowering emissions considerably while keeping food cold at the depot while en route to delivery.
"Incorporating renewable energy at all Golden State Foods facilities and fleets is a priority and part of our fundamental values and 2020 sustainability goals," said Gregg Tartlon, general manager of Golden State Foods' Garner facility. Even accounting for electricity costs to power the refrigeration units, the facility will come out well ahead with net savings.
"These new electric power outlets are estimated to save Garner nearly $110,000 a year, resulting in 80,000 gallons of fuel saved for our 65 trucks," Tartlon noted, adding there are now 15 Golden State Foods and subsidiary Quality Custom Distribution centers using this type of electric technology.
Bob Provencher, director of technology and sales at SafeConnect, pointed out that SafeConnect has installed its electric standby connection system for truck refrigeration units at more than 10 Golden State Foods distribution centers over the last three years.
The Golden State Foods electrification project in Garner was supported by funds from Duke Energy. The funds stem from a 2015 settlement between Duke Energy and EPA and environmental groups in a case dating back to 2000. This is now Duke's third project in North Carolina to use electric power to replace the need to idle truck engines.
"Duke Energy is a strong believer in the benefits of electrification for our industrial customers," said Clark Gillespy, senior vice president of economic development at Duke Energy.
He pointed to this latest project's social as well as cost-reduction benefits: "At Golden State Foods, truck idling will be lessened—saving money, lowering noise levels, and reducing air emissions," he noted.