Bronx biz is told to go green

Bronx businesses need to go green, and they need to do it as soon as possible.

At least, that’s what the Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation advises.

The HPEDC has released a summary of the results of a two-year study of all trucks in the Hunts Point markets, making up the largest food distribution center in the country, and probably the world.

Their official recommendation is that these businesses go green — make their trucks more environmentally-friendly, and save money in the process.

While the full report has yet to be released, members of the chamber were treated to a sneak peak of the contents of the Green Fleets Study at the chamber’s “Energy Saving Strategies for Your Business” on Thursday, June 30 at the Hunts Point Cooperative Market.

The Green Fleets Study is a project that would help convert many of the thousands of trucks in Hunts Point fleets to alternative energy and money-saving technologies. It was begun in 2008, and received a lot of support from the Hunts Point business community.

Jeremie Sautter, managing director for the HPEDC, said that short-term and long-term recommendations were made to owners of fleets of trucks about how they can reduce greenhouse gases and diesel consumption.

“The average truck uses 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year,” Sautter said. “We can reduce diesel fuel consumption by 30% by using hybrid electric trucks. If you have a truck that is completely green, and does not burn any diesel fuel, instead of paying $3.30 per diesel gallon you can convert that to $1 a gallon. We are not just talking about an idealistic green planet, we are talking about dollars and cents.”

The study analyzed alternative types of energy that could power trucks, including compressed natural gas, bio-diesel, hybrid electric, and going all-electric.

Art Vasky, a consultant on the Green Fleets Study, said that the options for green trucks have increased tremendously in the past two years.

“The future of petroleum use is increasingly risky for this country and your business,” Vasky told gathered business leaders. “The opportunity now exists to use training and tools available to go green.”

One business owner who does not have to be convinced is Ed Taylor, the owner of Down East Seafood at 311 Manida Street. His all-electric delivery truck is the first to join the fleet of any Hunts Point business. For Taylor, the decision to invest in all-electric technology came out of his concern for both his bottom line and the environment.

“The reason that we got involved was the price of oil,” Taylor said. “The asthma rate here in the Bronx is seven times the national average.”

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742-3393.

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