September 2, 2014
MADISON - A southeast Wisconsin construction company is turning off its engines and tuning in to environmental protection and sustainable economic performance, two critical pieces to the Department of Natural Resources flagship Green Tier Program.
Edgerton Contractors, Inc. joined Green Tier two years ago this week and is one of many businesses in the program leading the way in superior environmental performance. The Oak Creek-based company employs 140 workers and has also been named a "Top Workplace" by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and recently received the "Fastest Growing Firm Award" by the Milwaukee Business Journal.
One significant change Edgerton is championing involves idling machinery. Letting construction equipment idle is a standard industry practice, but company officials saw the benefit in turning off their machinery to reduce its overall air emissions.
The company set an initial goal of reducing emissions by 3 percent, but achieved more than 12 percent reductions in the first year.
"When a company is able to make changes that benefit their assets as well as the environment, it is truly a win-win situation," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "We love to see how businesses are helping change things for the better and congratulate Edgerton Contractors for two great years in Green Tier."
Green Tier recognizes and rewards companies that demonstrate a commitment to superior environmental performance. As part of the program, Edgerton Contractors uses an Environmental Management System that both guides future sustainability efforts and helps monitor the progress of its current environmental initiatives.
"At Edgerton, we strive to work safely, deliver quality and be efficient. Our Green Tier program and our EMS very much align with this strategy," said Mike Mulqueen, project manager Edgerton Contractors. "Thanks to our employees, our Green Tier program enjoyed a successful initial two years. Our current focus is on a pipeline of future opportunities to advance our environmental program. We are very much excited about the future, as we look to leverage our environmental success to create positive economic and social impacts."
To continually improve sustainability efforts, Edgerton studies the environmental impacts of its on-site operations. Within the framework of their EMS, the company reduced emissions from its excavators by 12.18 percent in 2013, far surpassing their initial goal of 3 percent. Officials attribute this outstanding reduction in emissions to both the utilization of newer, more efficient equipment and to its idle control policy.
The idle policy directs operators to shut down equipment if it will idle for more than 5 minutes. This reduces fuel consumption, emissions and engine wear. The five-minute time frame was chosen after talking with equipment manufacturers, and according to Mulqueen is an appropriate compromise to ensure that turning machines on and off more than once a day would not damage the machines and would provide environmental benefits.
Mulqueen indicated that this new way of operating has prompted a change in culture in the company, and today staff are very willing to participate in Edgerton's environmental initiatives.
And what lies ahead for Edgerton Contractors? An expansion of their efforts. They started monitoring one specific type of equipment, track-type excavators, and given the success of the first year they are expanding efforts to include track-type tractors. They hope for similar results.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Eggert, DNR, 608-267-2761 or Mike Mulqueen, Edgerton Contractors, Inc., 414-764-4443