SC&RA tackles current environmental issues with latest Forum

Scheduled for September 13 in Centreville, Virginia, the upcoming SC&RA Environmental Forum grew out of the burgeoning SC&RA Environmental Committee. Within this group, Association members are beginning to look to the future and prepare for how changes in regulatory systems will evolve and impact the industry as government tackles current environmental issues.

Wind energy will be an important part of the North American electrical grid. A Liebherr LR 1800 hoists nacelles and wind turbine blades in the mountains of Southern California. Photo: Bigge crane and rigging

Allen Schaeffer, a clean diesel technology expert with the Diesel Technology Forum, will be the keynote speaker for the one-day event. He also spoke at the Committee’s first meeting last year.

Schaeffer has worked with SC&RA for over a year, providing information and perspective on current environmental issues, as well as organizing the Forum.

“From an outside perspective, I was happy to share my experience with the Association,” he said. “We have certainly seen a growing level of interest from members in environmental topics.”

People are paying more attention to the news, especially climate-related politics within the new administration, Schaeffer explained. “There is a lot of money and politics behind this. I think it caught everyone’s attention and perhaps pushed a higher level of thinking than in the past.

Evolution of environmental problems

Moreover, he emphasized the client side. “People in the transportation industry, for example, are realizing that they have to continue to satisfy their customers with service and products, but those customers are changing in terms of understanding and concern for various types of environmental issues.

“You see companies being asked about their scheduled services as well as their environmental policies – ie what kind of measures are you taking to reduce your carbon emissions within your fleet? Thus, customers are asking more questions about environmental performance, and this has been a wake-up call for companies. These are the types of questions we’re likely to see more of in the future, so we should really be ready to answer them.

Schaeffer also said construction and transportation companies are beginning to view environmental issues as less of a compliance burden and more of a business opportunity. “There are a lot of companies now advertising their environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) principles – what they stand on and how they do business,” he pointed out. “And customers are increasingly looking for these kinds of things, to differentiate their suppliers and business partners. Leaders are beginning to realize that they can turn this into an asset. In addition to, say, being “the safest or the most affordable”, companies can describe the emissions they have reduced in the last year, or how they recycle their truck wash water, etc.

Data will be central to the successful adaptation of the crane, rigging and specialized transportation industry to environmental challenges.

A common ground between crane, rigging and transport

Given the opportunity the Forum will present to SC&RA members, Schaeffer is excited to be a part of something he believes will help companies do their jobs better, perhaps save money and even stimulate business.

“I think it’s important to provide your members with forward-thinking programs that not only help them solve some of the challenges they face today, but also anticipate and avoid problems they might have in the future,” he noted. “And you’re always more successful when you run this kind of activity in a group. They learn from each other. So having SC&RA bring members together in this way is going to generate really beneficial discussions about what’s going on. happening in this space right now, and where we see these issues evolving in this industry over the next three to five years.

As for the common ground between the crane and the rigging as well as the transport members, Schaeffer sees it as an operational issue. “Using something other than diesel fuel comes up a lot – say, using renewable diesel fuel as a way to keep leveraging the assets you have,” he said. “Diesel engines in trucks, machinery and off-road equipment can be operated in a way that emits far fewer emissions – and not just greenhouse gas emissions, but things like particulates, side smog generator as well.

“So I think it’s about what you can do with what you have – and how do you quantify that, inspect that and manage that? Also, is alternative fuel a smarter option for you, or electric? And what is the math on that? So we’re seeing more and more companies exploring this approach. »

Ultimately, Schaeffer sees the upcoming Forum as a way for SC&RA members to immerse themselves in existing knowledge and increase their awareness of all possible information now and in the future. “At the end of the day, if you don’t ask the questions first, your customers will ask them,” he said. “You want to be one step ahead – and have the answers. You’ll keep that business and probably grow it — instead of saying, well, we haven’t really thought about that. Let me respond to you in a few weeks.

Why should members attend the Forum?

Schaeffer is convinced that data will be at the heart of successful industry adaptation to environmental issues. “Basically, what do you know about what you have and what you’re doing,” he said. “If on one of your projects you use fifteen vehicles, involving on-site trucks and cranes, etc., what is the condition of those assets? Are they old, new? What kind of technology do they have? What do we know about their shows?

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“Then you dig into things like emission profiles, which allows you to better model and predict. So it’s not just a question of what kind of lifting capacity you will need, but what will be the total emissions profile for this project? And to the customer, you can provide that information, and by the way, “…here’s how we’re going to reduce that by ten percent by reducing idle time,” which of course is a waste of fuel and emissions.

The starting line

In this way, he added, the data gives companies exclusive insight into what is really going on at a job site. “Again, asking the right questions and collecting the right data is really at the heart of what you do and its impact on the environment – ​​that’s the starting line here. You also often find that there are fruits within reach – and these small successes are important. In a Class A truck, you know if it idles for an hour, you might be using three quarts of fuel. So today, at nearly six dollars a gallon, you can do the math pretty quickly. If you reduce idling by almost thirty percent, it will save you X thousand dollars this month – and so on.

As for why members should attend the Forum, Schaeffer thinks it’s time for leaders to roll up their sleeves and seek out the information needed to compete. “It’s not just for the good of the company – as a professional it also builds your reputation and expands your abilities beyond what you may be doing now,” he explained. “It makes you more valuable. And much of it is right in front of us. Ultimately, this could differentiate successful companies from those that perhaps weren’t paying as much attention to it as they should have been.

It all depends on the interactions and the resulting perspective. “First-hand discussions with people – hearing about their day-to-day issues,” he said. “What do they say when they discuss these issues? What does the environment mean to them? How do they talk about it now? Do they even talk about it? Conversations like these at all levels can be very insightful, and in this case, probably quite impactful.

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