In 2011, Thomas Built Buses became the first school bus manufacturer to achieve zero-waste-to-landfill operations, which means that everything received or produced by the company is used, reused, recycled or sold, and nothing is sent to the landfill. This commitment decreases waste from more than 1,100 pounds per bus to zero waste being shipped to landfills. Now Thomas Built Buses is expanding its vibrant eco program with a $3 million investment in energy-saving initiatives over the next two to three years.
Portions of the $3 million investment will include energy-efficient heating systems and a $2 million investment to replace lighting fixtures in the corporate offices and in all manufacturing plants with new energy-efficient LED lighting. In addition, Thomas has invested in new hybrid security vehicles, and plug-in electric pool vehicles that have the capacity to operate completely on electric power for local travel.
“As one of the region’s largest manufacturers, it is our duty to protect the environment we live and work in, and to make the smallest mark possible. We always have felt strongly about protecting the environment, which is why we became a zero-waste-to-landfill organization many years ago,” said Caley Edgerly, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “While each of these initiatives may seem trivial, together they make a huge impact. In fact, lighting upgrades alone will save $475,000 per year in energy usage. These new initiatives will help us to further reduce our carbon footprint and become even cleaner in our operations.”
Over the past eight years, Thomas Built Buses has embarked on several sustainability initiatives, making the company an industry leader. In 2010, Thomas Built Buses partnered with Duke Energy under a 25-year contract to create a Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Field, which produces about 389 kilowatts of renewable energy for the Duke Energy Power Grid. That’s enough electricity to power approximately 41 homes. In addition, all of Thomas Built’s manufacturing facilities are ISO 14001 certified, an internationally recognized set of standards for environmental performance that goes beyond basic compliance with environmental regulations.
“With these new initiatives plus our zero-waste-to-landfill facility, solar panels and a growing list of alternative fuel and low-emissions school buses, we are proud to manufacture some of the best school buses on the road, all while preserving the environment and resources provided to us,” said Edgerly.