Wales Truck Repairs win sustainability award

When you think about huge, noisy trucks, environmental sustainability is probably not the first image that comes to mind. However second generation shop owner Darren Wales not only operates a clean, green shop in Smithfield, Sydney , but he’s prepared to put his money where his mouth is and buy carbon credits to offset the workshop’s energy consumption.

And consume energy it does – the annual electricity bill for this enormous repair facility is eye watering. However Wales doesn’t just pay carbon credits while senselessly pumping out carbon emissions. Apart from encouraging the 55 staff to be mindful of switching equipment off when not in use, a near $40,000 investment in an off peak 30KW compressor has made a significant dent in the bill.

Next up is replacing the 53 lights in the workshop, which currently pump out 450KW of power each, as well as kicking out unwelcome heat in the summer, with LCD lights, which will consume a more modest 150KW. This also has an initially intimidating $36,000 price tag. However the team reckons the LCD lights will save $8000 a year on the electricity bill and so will have a short payback period.

While Wales has is genuinely concerned about operating responsibly for the future, he is also a successful businessman and DuPont is awarding sustainable business practices that go further than just thinking ‘green’. With spiralling energy costs, these energy saving measures will boost profitability.

Water shortages after last year’s flooding are not fresh in the memory but here Wales’ policy is again, exemplary. When he installed a three bay truck wash and detail department he built 25000lt rainwater catchment tanks, with full water recycling after wash down and steam cleaning to top up tanks. The team uses biodegradable detergents and there’s a full catchment area to stop overflows into drain ways.

After commissioning an environmental audit of the business three years ago, Wales entered into a contract with Carbon Strategic to buy 6000tonnes of carbon credits each year. These credits will pay for reforestation and offset the workshop’s carbon emissions. At a contract price of $23.00 per tonne, it is a major investment. While Wales describes this policy as ‘morally correct,’ it also makes business sense too.

As well as attracting tax rebates it has created a virtuous circle. The company uses its environmental credentials in all its marketing material and been told that these credentials have been a significant factor in contracts being awarded by local councils and other organisations who are looking to lower their own carbon footprint by dealing with companies who share their sustainable practices.

Wales Truck Repairs also has systems and procedures to recycle or re-use packing cardboard, aluminium, steel, radiators, batteries, office paper and supplies. Solvents are recycled and importantly so are parts. The company strips and keeps good parts and components, which can speed up repairs and lower costs, much to the delight of both insurance companies and owner-operators.

Moving ahead, Wales is open to any energy saving idea and is going to trial ISO Paint’s Climate Cooler solar reflective roof coating (p18 July/Aug2012). Paint and Panel will be reporting on whether the company saves energy on its office air-conditioning and how the temperature in the workshop is affected. Wales Truck Repairs is an excellent example of operating in an environmentally responsible manner and reaping rewards in lower overheads and a more attractive business image.

As a result of these efforts, Owen Streatfeild, marketing strategy development manager of DuPont Performance Services, recently presented the brand’s official sustainability award to Wales. “We sponsor this award for a number of reasons, but basically we want to reward forward-thinking body shop owners for their contribution to the future of the industry,” says Owen.

“Together, we want to lead the way and demonstrate the value of sustainable work practices and see body shop owners take vehicle repairs into the future while continually delivering quality service and well finished vehicle repairs for their clients,” he adds.

“We want the industry to see that there are many different ways to improve business and that with a little thought they can reduce their carbon footprint and continually become a little kinder to the environment.”

Wales was delighted with the award: “We value any sort of award, but this one is special as we take such pride in our efforts to be environmentally responsible.” he said.

Leave a Reply

  1. Australian Truck Radio Listen Live
Send this to a friend