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BUS REPORT Summer 2011

Hitting Milestones On The Road To Sustainable Manufacturing

On March 23, Thomas Built Buses hosted an employee event to celebrate an exciting accomplishment—the first school bus manufacturer to achieve Zero-Waste-to-Landfill operations. All 1,300 employees celebrated by wearing their new green T-shirts proclaiming Thomas Built's Commitment to Sustainability.

"The focus on Zero-Waste-to-Lanfill requires a little more work from an operational standpoint, but it's important that we make the extra effort to protect our natural resources," said Thomas Built Buses vice president of Operations, Jeff Allen. He credits the employees for the accomplishment of reaching the Zero-Waste-to-Landfill goal a full year earlier than planned.

This was just one of many milestones on the company's journey to embrace sustainable manufacturing. And it's not the last. Thomas Built is building on this foundation and continues to fine-tune its commitment to reducing the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes.

"We will view each pending business decision through the prism of our environmental pledge, to determine what steps we can take to improve our process from beginning to end," said Kelley Platt, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses.

She emphasized that this entails an even bigger effort on reducing and re-using going forward, working with suppliers to avoid creating recyclables in the first place and using more recycled or reclaimed materials inside the buses.

Thomas Built's sustainability commitment allows the company to set an important example as well as reinforce the message school children are learning about the 3 Rs: "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle."

Roger Nielsen, the COO of Daimler Trucks North America, parent company of Thomas Built, was on hand to congratulate the employees and share how this achievement fits in with Daimler's overall environmental commitment.

"Good business and the environment can — and must — co-exist. We believe we have an obligation to fulfill our social and environmental responsibilities and make mobility of the future both safe and sustainable."

Thomas is committed to reducing its environmental footprint with clean manufacturing efforts, and to developing products that help reduce emissions and lower dependence on fossil fuels.

"Just by virtue of its role in society, each school bus contributes to environmental stewardship by taking 36 cars off the road for every route driven," Platt said. "At Thomas Built, we want to produce a full line of buses that do more than take cars off the road. We want to and do offer buses that exceed current standards of environmental performance."

Thomas Built Buses currently manufactures both Type C hybrid-electric and Type D compressed natural gas (CNG) buses. Consistent with the company's commitment to offer its customers a robust line of alternative-powered products, Thomas Built also is working to introduce Saf-T-Liner® C2 and Minotour® propane-fueled school buses in 2012.

As the leading sustainable school bus manufacturer, Thomas Built Buses is proud to offer buses that are green from the ground up as well as inside and out.

Thomas' sustainable manufacturing program by the numbers:

  • Recycling:
    Thomas Built recycles an impressive list of materials, and from 2008 to 2010, the company nearly doubled its recycling of wood and nearly tripled its paper and cardboard recycling.
  • Energy conservation:
    Between 2006 and 2010, Thomas Built reduced its total annual energy consumption by 6,891 kW–that's enough electricity to power 721* homes.
  • Waste-to-Energy:
    In 2010, Thomas Built recycled 557,878 pounds of waste into energy and produced enough power to sustain 40* homes for a year.
  • Land-to-Energy:
    In 2010, Thomas Built provided land to house 1,690 Duke Energy owned and operated solar panels. The solar panel field is projected to produce enough power to sustain 41* average-sized homes.
  • Water conservation:
    Between 2006 and 2010, Thomas Built reduced its total annual water consumption by 42 percent. This equates to a savings of 500 gallons per bus manufactured.
  • Air emissions:
    New and improved paint booths, reclamation of used solvent and a matured environmental management system have resulted in a seven percent reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and 48 percent reduction of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) per bus in the past four years.

*Based on average annual use of 13,716 kWh.

Thomas Built turned under-used land into energy by providing the land to Duke Energy for a solar panel project.

As part of the company's sustainable manufacturing effort, Thomas Built turned under-used land into energy by providing the land to Duke Energy for a solar panel project. The solar panel field is projected to produce enough power to sustain 41 average-sized homes.

This is one of many recycling stations on the Minotour® production line.

Now that Thomas Built Buses is Zero-Waste-to-Landfill, the company recycles an impressive list of materials. This is one of many recycling stations on the Minotour® production line.