FleetSmart launches Idle-Free Quiet Zones

by Katy de Vries

BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – Natural Resources Canada kicked off its FleetSmart Idle-Free Quiet program Nov. 7 at the Fifth Wheel truck stop in Bowmanville, Ont.

The initiative to curb engine idling is an campaign that Lynda Harvey, chief FleetSmart Program, transportation energy use, hopes will educate the public and encourage everyone to stop unnecessary engine idling.

“The trucking industry works hard to keep Canada on the move and so we have to do what we can to support every angle of the industry,” says Harvey.

There are 18 truck stops across the country that will declare their truck parking lots as Idle-Free Quiet Zones for six weeks.

Mark Allott, owner of Bowmanville’s Fifth Wheel truck stop, says he thinks more truck stops will come on board when a greater awareness is established.

“We want to try to do our part, not only for the trucking industry, but for the residents of the community as well. We plan on keeping the information tables set up and providing any information we can about the program to the truckers who stop by,” Allott says.

The Mayor of Bowmanville, John Mutton and Oshawa M.P., Ivan Grose were also on hand to participate in the launch and to cut the Idle-Free Quiet Zone cake as the official start to the program.

Grose says the community has to think globally but act locally.

“It makes economic and energy sense to turn off the key. We have to make it work voluntarily, because if we can’t the government will come in and make it work for us, and even though I’m part of the government, I don’t want any more regulations imposed upon us. I spent too long fighting them when I had my own trucking business,” says Grose.

Engine idling not only affects the environment by emitting greenhouse gases but it also negatively affects the breathing air quality, and increases noise pollution within the community. By eliminating unnecessary idling, it will reduce the incredible waste of fuel and it can save the company money because big rigs burn up to four litres of diesel each running hour, and that one hour of idling burns the same amount of fuel as 100 highway driving miles.

Madeleine Middleton, FleetSmart program manager, says it is an energy saving initiative. A win-win-win situation where the company can save money, the driver can not only enjoy a quiet rest but breathe clean air, and the environment wins as well.

Four of the six auxiliary heater and air conditioner manufacturers who sponsor the FleetSmart program, were on hand in Bowmanville to show support and offer advice to truckers looking to warm up their cabs this winter with a secondary heating unit.

“We are happy to be a part of the program, and it’s great that we can take what we do and apply it to such a necessary and very important initiative,” says John Dennehy, vice-president of marketing and corporate communications for Espar Heater Systems.

Espar along with Webasto, Proheat, RigMaster, AUX and Xantrex are sponsors of the FleetSmart program and will be sponsoring free coffee at the participating truck stops during the six-week campaign.

As part of the awareness program, FleetSmart will conduct a workshop on the benefits of auxiliary cab heaters and air conditioners at the Irving Big Stop in Pembroke, Ont. on Nov. 20 at 10:30 a.m. The workshop is open to all interested industry members.

Harvey says the session will focus on the technical side of in-cab heating units. Experts in the field and product manufacturers will be present to answer any questions.

Because the information covered in this session is important and because the nature of the truck driver’s job doesn’t necessarily allow them to be in attendance, Natural Resources Canada has decided to Web-cast the session live to Web site, so truckers can log on wherever they may be and not only watch the session but type in questions and have their questions addressed live by the experts at the Pembroke session.

“This is our first time for this kind of seminar and it is very exciting. If it is successful, which I believe it will be, we hope to conduct more sessions in the new year. Our next sessions will cover the topics of ECM and tires because these are also important factors in increasing fuel efficiency,” says Harvey.

For more information, contact Madeleine Middleton at 613 947-8381 or email at mmiddlet@NRCan.gc.ca.

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