May 10, 2016

Photograph taken by William Borek, Operations Director of Braun’s Express. The photo shows half of the newly installed solar panels on the rear portion of roof on the warehouse of the Braun’s Express terminal in Hopedale, MA.
Half of the newly installed solar panels on the rear portion of roof on the warehouse of the Braun’s Express terminal in Hopedale, MA.
Photograph taken by William Borek, Operations Director of Braun’s Express.

Solect is excited to celebrate the success of one of our clients – Braun’s Express of Hopedale, MA, for their recent win of the 2016 EPA Environmental Merit Award! Braun’s Express is a privately owned and operated freight company serving the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest United States. A company relying on the daily use of hundreds of trucks and trailers, Braun’s has made an effort to reduce petroleum consumption since 2004, when the company joined the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport Partnership. Since joining the program, Braun’s has invested in an array of sustainable technology to reduce the petroleum used to power its fleet. Braun’s  Express won the EPA Environmental Merit Award for outstanding efforts in preserving New England’s environment  in 2010.

Continuing it’s  green efforts, Braun’s Express initiated a solar project on their building in Hopedale MA, including the addition of a Solect solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to their emission reduction plan in 2015. Due to Braun’s continued carbon reduction actions and dedication to the environment, the EPA named the company the winner of the 2016 Environmental Merit Award. The following is an excerpt from their application, explaining their main sustainable initiatives.

Braun’s Express is a leader among EPA SmartWay Transport Partners in New England, as well as a prominent collaborator with Massachusetts DOER’s Clean Cities program, and other regional clean transportation efforts.  Braun’s deserves recognition for our 2015 fleet- and building-based sustainability accomplishments.

SmartWay is EPA’s voluntary initiative to reduce emissions from freight transportation.  Braun’s joined at the program’s inception in 2004, and as SmartWay has grown to 3000 partners, so has Braun’s grown to 225 employees, eight terminals, and hundreds of trucks and trailers.  Braun’s offers complete supply-chain management for carpeting and flooring products, and a wide range of transportation and logistics solutions applicable to any industry.

This presents a significant challenge: how to minimize Braun’s impact on the environment, mostly from carbon dioxide emissions, while growing our business?  According to Fast Facts: U.S. Transportation Sector GHG Emissions 1990-2013, heavy and medium-duty trucks account for 23% of all transportation GHG emissions, and about 6% of the total from all sectors.  Braun’s CO2 performance in SmartWay is already excellent—ranking in the 2nd highest of 5 tiers, difficult to achieve on the congested roadways of the East Coast—but how could we do better…not only with our fleet, but with the rest of our operation?

In 2015, Braun’s installed a solar energy system on our corporate headquarters roof through a solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Solect Energy Development.  We view the extensive solar array as a big-picture symbol of our dedication to improving the environment.  The 201 kilowatt (kW) array is expected to produce approximately 227,000 kWh per year, over the 20-year agreement.  This will offset 3,131 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the life of the system, equivalent to 7.4 million miles driven by an average passenger vehicle, or 352,263 gallons of gasoline consumed.

Braun’s has also implemented a weekly driver incentive scorecard, derived from a PeopleNet electronic data logging system connected with our trucks.  The PeopleNet scorecard allows drivers to see their driving behavior for the week prior, and how it translates into fuel savings, efficiency, compliance and operating safety.  Drivers able to reach our company goal are awarded dollar prizes in their paychecks for that week.  By giving drivers incentives to perform at a high level, Braun’s is able to reward high-performing drivers for their professionalism, and coach all drivers on best practices.  This program also provides terminal managers with information directly generated from the trucks’ electronic control units that can be used for preventive maintenance, which improves fuel-efficiency.

These latest efforts are part of a continuous improvement program Braun’s kicked off when it joined SmartWay in 2004.  We have continuously upgraded our fleet to more efficient models to reduce our carbon footprint.  Our SmartWay accounting tools show that we have saved approximately 18,000 metric tons of CO2, equivalent to 43 million miles driven, or north of 2 million gallons of gasoline.   While Braun’s Express is a small, family-run trucking business, we are committed to sustainability, and will continue to research, evaluate and adopt technologies to reduce our carbon footprint.

Congratulations again to Braun’s Express on their win! We thank you for your commitment to the environment.