Commercial, Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions  -  June 3, 2019

Union Pacific posts energy consumption decline

Union Pacific’s utility conservation projects reduced energy consumption by 3.1 million kWh in 2018, which is enough to annually power more than 280 U.S. homes. The company reported that many conservation projects were employee-driven solutions, such as retrofitting lights with LED bulbs and upgrading air compressor systems.

The results are part of Union Pacific’s just-released annual sustainability report, “Building America. "We're proud of the work achieved in 2018, moving us closer to our goal of providing safe, reliable and efficient service," said Union Pacific's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz. "As we see the impact of our new Operating strategy, it gives us the momentum to achieve results that ensure we remain a strong, vibrant and environmentally responsible company long into the future."

The report noted that Union Pacific is working to reduce its carbon footprint by using solar power and LED light bulbs. LED lighting has been implemented at a number of the company’s facilities, including five new solar LED yard lights at Provo Yard in Wendover, Utah. In Long Beach, California, crews replaced 91 high-mast tower lights at their Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) ramp, which should bring energy savings of more than 2.7 million kWh per year.

Union Pacific acquired 51 new locomotives that meet the EPA's stringent Tier 4 emissions standards, which reduce particulate emissions from diesel locomotives by as much as 90 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by as much as 80 percent. The company has invested roughly $3.8 billion in purchasing more than 1,500 new locomotives since 2008, all of which meet the EPAs tier standards. 

In the area of fuel efficiency, the report said, “We have employees dedicated to finding ways to reduce consumption as diesel fuel accounts for approximately 17% of our operating expenses.” While fuel efficiency improved for the company during the fourth quarter of 2018, they ended the year with a 3% worse fuel consumption rate than 2017’s best ever performance, blamed in part on heavy congestion across their system for much of the year.

The report said, “While we missed the first year of our 2018-2020 fuel goal, we remain steadfast in our commitment to further reduce locomotive consumption by 1.5%. From 2009-2018, our fuel consumption rate was essentially flat, however, we saved more than 160 million gallons of fuel.”

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