Customer Success Stories

CalPortland Invests in “Clean Air” Redeem for Ready Mix Fleet

Savings of $109 Million Per Year

Reduces 70% GHG Emissions

Reduces 90% NOx Emissions

EPA Energy Star Partner Winner

CalPortland is the largest producer of cement and construction material products on the West Coast with operations in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, and Arizona, as well as British Columbia and Alberta. Serving construction customers for over 125 years, CalPortland is also a leader in environmental practices, keeping efficiency and sustainability as core principles of its mission.

In 2003, CalPortland established an Energy Management Services Program dedicated to monitoring and improving the functionality of energy use across its operations, which include 65 ready mix plants, 25 aggregate quarries, and 16 cement plants/terminals. Delivering innovative energy solutions on a large scale to numerous facilities and nearly 4,000 pieces of mobile equipment is no easy task. However, since the program’s inception, led by Chief Energy Engineer Bill Jerald, the company has reduced its energy intensity by 16 percent, resulting in a total cumulative savings of $109 million.

CalPortland recognizes the win-win scenario of driving its energy costs down while also promoting itself as a company that takes environmental issues seriously. As Vice President of Marketing Bill Larson puts it: “California continues to advance clean energy technologies, moving toward the goal of reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emission by way of strict air quality regulations. The construction industry is certainly not immune to air quality regulations, therefore we are taking charge of our future by investing in “clean air” technology that will provide benefits to our company, customers, and residents of and visitors to California for generations into the future.” That philosophy means not only more customers for CalPortland, but also numerous local, regional, and national awards, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star® Partner of the Year for 14 consecutive years.

“Switching to zero emission engines fueled by Redeem renewable natural gas instead of diesel has been a real game changer,”

– Allen Hamblen, president/CEO of CalPortland

CalPortland is the only construction materials company to boast such longevity with that prestigious honor, so it’s no surprise that it opted to partner with Clean Energy to convert its entire Catalina Pacific®, a CalPortland Company, ready mix concrete fleet from diesel to renewable natural gas (RNG). The heavy-duty fleet of 118 trucks run on Redeem, Clean Energy’s branded RNG, and is powered by Cummins Westport’s ISL G Near Zero Engine. This combination will provide Greater Los Angeles with the cleanest ready mix concrete fleet in the United States, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 70 percent and smog-causing NOx emissions by over 90 percent (compared to a 2010 diesel engine).

The transition to Redeem-powered trucks came at a time when California legislators were mandating new requirements for truck emissions. “Nearly 100 years ago, when CalPortland was helping build the Coliseum, we did not see that air pollution and climate change would be one of the biggest threats to our existence. It is great to see a company taking the lead in clean truck technology,” said California State Senator Ricardo Lara, a champion of environmental legislation, speaking at the official RNG fleet launch held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“Switching to zero emission engines fueled by Redeem renewable natural gas instead of diesel has been a real game changer,” said Allen Hamblen, president/CEO of CalPortland. “We look forward to continue exploring clean alternatives that will make a positive impact on the environment and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the community, as well as the safety of our employees.”

Having established successful partnerships in the refuse, transit and trucking industries, Clean Energy saw the construction materials industry, specifically ready mix producers, as a viable opportunity to expand the adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel. With this in mind, Clean Energy Business Development Manager John Hodgkinson reached out to CalPortland because of its strong industry leadership and dedication to sustainable business practices.

In recent years, Hodgkinson has worked closely with CalPortland leadership to develop the project and help secure state and federal funding to help offset CalPortland’s major “clean fleet” investment. “CalPortland takes sustainability initiatives seriously and recognizes that heavy duty diesel trucks are the largest contributors to smog and GHGs emissions in Southern California. The company is leading by example and setting the standard for others in the industry.”

CalPortland’s Vice President of Assets, Steve Mitchell, has been the visionary behind the project and was responsible for successfully transitioning the fleet from diesel to natural gas fuel. Mitchell saw the many advantages of being the first ready mix producer to operate an alternative fuel fleet in Greater Los Angeles. “Not only is the fuel clean, domestic and half the cost of diesel; it also contributes to a construction project’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification,” says Mitchell. LEED is a rating system to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation towards more sustainable designs, products, and processes.

The 118 concrete mixers consume an average of 75,000 gallons of Redeem fuel per month, which displaces approximately 8,365 metric tons annually of GHG emissions. The trucks fuel at two CalPortland private time fill stations, as well as Clean Energy’s network of public access stations in Southern California. CalPortland is already looking to convert more trucks in California, and then extend the initiative to its operations in Arizona and Oregon. “We need more companies to follow CalPortland’s lead,” says Hodgkinson. “They are a true pioneer and deserve a lot of credit for taking on a project of this magnitude.”