Dometic recognized for environmental excellence

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Dometic Automotive, a Richmond-based manufacturing company, has been awarded the Virginia Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for Manufacturers for the company’s efforts to reduce engine idling. The awards ceremony took place Wednesday, April 1, at the 19th annual Environment Virginia Symposium held at Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington. Accepting the award for Dometic Automotive was senior vice president Lou Siegel.

The award recognized Dometic’s work in developing a battery-powered auxiliary air conditioning system that keeps the driver comfortable without idling the truck’s engine. The company says its battery-based solution eliminates the need for running the main engine, or a separate diesel generator to operate an auxiliary air conditioning system; this achieves important reductions in fuel consumption and harmful emissions of exhaust fumes into the air.

“The engineering goal for this project was to design, build, test and prove a commercially viable system that would provide a comfortable environment for the driver while achieving 100 percent elimination of fuel consumption and air pollution from truck idling,” Siegel says. “I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of a very dedicated team that worked hard to make this totally clean idle-reduction technology possible.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, idling consumes about three billion gallons of fuel and produces 180,000 tons of nitrous oxide, 5,000 tons of particulate matter and 7.6 million tons of carbon dioxide nationwide each year.

“Virginia’s I-81, I-64 and I-95 interstate corridors are among the nation’s busiest in terms of truck traffic,” says Rick Weeks, chief deputy of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. “Virginia’s highway rest areas and truck stops are packed with vehicles day and night, and Virginia’s ports and warehousing/distribution facilities are used by thousands of trucks each year. As this technology is widely deployed, Virginians all across the Commonwealth will breathe cleaner air due to the dramatic reduction in truck idling.”

The Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards are supported by the Virginia governor, secretary of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Conservation and Recreation, and other partner organizations, including the Virginia Manufacturers Association and Dominion. This awards program encourages Virginia companies, organizations and individuals to implement the Commonwealth’s pollution prevention policy and to practice excellent environmental stewardship by recognizing outstanding efforts in these areas each year.