18 JunThe ECO Travel Plaza Project
Our ECO project was conceived from a discussion about how much damage trucks and truck stops do to the environment. Particularly the practice of drivers running their rigs to keep warm or cool while stopped.
We were introduced to the Anti-idling technology provided by AireDock and Shorepower Technologies at the NATSO convention. They provide Truck Stop Electrification (TSE) equipment that allows truckers to rest without running their engines. We installed 32 Shorepower only units for trucks with Auxiliary Power Units i.e. heating and cooling appliances on board. We also chose 18 AireDock units which provide through the window units for heat and air conditioning. Both systems also provide WiFi and electrical plugs for a variety of on-board appliances.
We chose the different independent manufacturers because they had the most cost effective systems and together provided the broadest range of coverage for the vehicles on the road today.
Owners and drivers benefit from “shutting down” because TSE reduces:
- noise pollution and hearing loss
- air pollution and respiratory problems from breathing in the fumes
- accidents since drivers get better rest in a non-vibrating cab
- the cost for fuel and engine replacement
We all benefit because of cleaner air and the down-line eco savings related to manufacturing fewer parts and supplies for repairs.
Our Other Eco Steps
TSE- East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition sponsored Eco Travel Plaza in their grant application to EPA. EPA awarded us a grant for $582,000 to install the Truck Stop Electrification (anti-idling) technology for the travel plaza.
Solar- The TSE systems reduce diesel use but we still need significant electricity to operate. We were able to install a 35 kW solar system to provide for much of our other power requirements.
Power. Since our overall utility usage is high, producing enough solar electricity would be very costly. We decide to reduce the demand and cost for power by:
- using more energy efficient appliances and monitoring consumption through controls
- installing window film to reduce heat build-up
- replacing inefficient lighting inside and out
- using LED signs vs. inefficient sign lighting, air hand dryers and other more efficient approaches.
Water. We are implementing a plan to save consumption through the use of:
- waterless urinals
- automatic faucets and water pressure reducers
Recycling. Our plan is to collect items which allow for re-use or to minimize harmful disposal methods. The goal is to collect:
- cooking oils for conversion to fuel
- plastics, glass and paper
- electronics, cellular phones and batteries
Automotive. We provide or are planning for the following:
- ethanol gas and bio fuels
- 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
- RV dumps
The Future. We hope to incorporate over 40 energy and environmentally friendly programs at ECO Travel Plaza. It will cost +/- $1,000,000 more to reach our ultimate goal of having a zero carbon footprint. We want to be the leading commercial enterprise in the country in producing ECO benefits.