For FedEx Ground, taking actions that help improve air quality is good business.
The Moon Township-based shipping company earned top prize in the large business category in the 2013-2014 Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge through extensive water and energy savings, as well as high levels of community engagement.
Paul Melander, FedEx Ground managing director of sustainability, says the challenge was an opportunity to test green initiatives that can be applied to the rest of the company.
“What makes us proud is that this is just a step in the process for us,” Melander explains. “We will continue to expand our sustainability efforts here in our hometown and beyond.”
Water and energy savings reduce air pollution generated from fossil fuel combustion.
As part of the challenge, FedEx Ground retrofitted its headquarters with high-efficiency motion and ambient sensor lighting with programmable controls that will take advantage of natural light and reduce energy during non-occupied hours. The initiative also provides the capability to take advantage of potential future demand response programs.
FedEx Ground also upgraded bathrooms, adding efficiency devices to faucets, urinals and toilets that reduced water usage by 25 percent. The company aims to implement these practices at many of its more than 560 facilities.
Delivery vehicles are part of the sustainability efforts. FedEx Ground continues to improve vehicle aerodynamics by adding trailer skirts and conducting extensive road tests with outside companies. By doing so, the company seeks to make the trucks more fuel efficient, thereby reducing harmful air emissions.
In addition, employees are enabled to use electric vehicles; as part of the Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities Energy 376 Corridor project, FedEx Ground installed two electric vehicle charging stations at its headquarters in April 2013. Melander says they are often occupied all day. “[It’s] a testament to our employees’ adoption of this technology,” he says.
Outside of the challenge, FedEx Ground continues to implement solar power throughout its network, in addition to its two existing systems at hubs in Woodbridge, New Jersey, and Rialto, California. A facility in Queens, N.Y., one in Texas and two on the East Coast will be the latest to feature large solar installations.
FedEx’s new sustainability department helps to support cross-departmental teams on the design and implementation of these green initiatives throughout the company. “It allows us to focus on multiple projects throughout our network with a clear and singular focus, whether the projects are solar, alternative fuels or waste reduction,” Melander says.
Sustainability is an increasingly important part of doing business, a shift that benefits both the environment and the company’s bottom line. “Sustainability improves efficiency and, if done properly, can save a company millions of dollars,” he says.
— By Allison Keene, The Heinz Endowments Communications Intern