Winning LEED Business
Saving on Operational Costs
Recycling 580 Tons of Landfill Waste/YR
Like Removing 340+ Cars from the Road
All companies would like to save money while helping the environment and when a strong dose of Oklahoma pride is added to the mix, you’ve got a recipe for success that’s taken Schwarz Ready-Mix to new heights.
Schwarz Ready Mix was founded in 1948 in Okarche, Oklahoma, and the family-owned company prides itself on being an industry leader. President & Co-Owner Phillip Schwarz continues the tradition of innovation in both product and delivery solutions for their growing customer base.
“Embracing CNG as a vehicle fuel is great for company PR, and it has helped Schwarz land more LEED certified construction projects.”
Oklahoma Pride Factors In
By the middle of 2013, Schwarz’s outdated fleet was in need of replacement and upgrades to ensure his operations continued to run smoothly. Unlike many companies at this crossroads, the decision to switch to compressed natural gas (CNG) was an easy one for Schwarz. Natural gas champion and Co-Founder of Clean Energy Fuels T. Boone Pickens is also from Oklahoma, and his legacy there is strong. So strong, in fact, that the state offers tax incentives for use of the alternative fuel. That was one of several reasons Schwarz knew the switch was the right move for their business.
Once the plan was set in motion, Schwarz waited a short time for Peterbilt’s 12-liter model to come out, knowing that size would suit their needs. Since that first purchase of 16 trucks, Schwarz has doubled his CNG fleet to 32 vehicles out of the 115 total. Half of those CNG trucks are mixers with ten more CNG vehicles on order. While many companies test one or two trucks at first, Schwarz jumped right in. “We knew they’d work,” he says. And they did.
Dhybrid Power Systems installed the CNG tanks onto the trucks and trained the Schwarz team on fueling and maintenance. Phillip’s drivers were resistant to the change at first, having spent their whole careers with diesel. He simply told them: “give it a chance and come back in a month.” After only a couple of weeks, the drivers reported the CNG trucks “were like driving an RV,” simple and more powerful than the diesel. The Schwarz team also appreciates the noise reduction that comes with the CNG switch. “It’s unbelievable how quiet the trucks are,” says Phillip.
The Alternative Solution Benefits Everyone
The Schwarz fleet currently uses around 550,000 – 650,000 gallons of fuel per year, depending on the workload at any given time. By switching to CNG, their emission improvement with the low-end estimate includes a reduction in greenhouse gases of approximately 1,640 metric tons every single year. That’s the environmental equivalent to annually planting over 41,992 trees, removing over 340 cars from the road or recycling 580 tons of waste that would have been landfilled. What’s even more impressive is, all of those numbers increase over 30% when their gallon consumption approaches the high-end estimate of 650,000.
Recently, the company has invested in private filling stations located at two separate facilities. One of these stations is a compact, self-contained GE CNG-in-a-Box unit installed by Clean Energy Fuels. This station also receives maintenance support from Clean Energy Fuels. This support has added to the company’s success by keeping the fueling process smooth and worry-free.
Gaining a Competitive Edge with CNG
Embracing CNG as a vehicle fuel is great for company PR, and it has helped Schwarz land more LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified construction projects. The most widely used green building rating system in the world, LEED is transforming global thinking about how buildings and communities are designed, constructed, maintained and operated. So it’s clear to see why any vendor who uses alternative fuel would have an advantage getting this type of work.
Being able to compete for these projects propels Schwarz to the forefront of their industry and opens doors for them all year long. The benefits of a CNG-fueled fleet are both real and measurable, and that’s something business owner Phillip Schwarz can get behind. “There are a lot of advantages to going [the CNG] route,” says Phillip. “I’m surprised more people aren’t doing it.”