Compliance with various benchmarks can result in the certification of a process receiving a “green” label.
While a newly purchased vending machine or fleet vehicle may directly satisfy environmentally-friendly standards, older legacy equipment may require a retrofit application to meet certification standards. In fact, some governmental agencies have proposed wording to be included in vending contracts as well as classification categories for segmenting machinery based on efficiency and functionality.
These environmental checklists are designed to assist with decision making relative to vending/OCS contracting and operational methodologies. For example, EnergyStar policies contain guidelines based on achieving satisfactory environmental performance and for the classification of beverage vending machines.
In fact, in the near future it is expected that some locations may require vending operators to include environmental considerations and green practices in site location bids.
Not only does being green mean being environmentally-friendly, but it also includes stainability; a concept implying an effective operational plan of five to 10 years. Seeking eco-friendly status should be an important component in the strategic plan of a vending/OCS company. Similarly, consumers have grown increasingly interested in patronizing vendors that feature environmentally and organically-based products and services. In general, energy savings also helps prevent the emission of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas.
Improved technology can make gains in energy efficiency more easily attainable. For example, a building can establish credit toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in the use of electricity by implementing a renewable energy program through the use of wind power, run-of-river power, solar power, window tinting, and other techniques designed to contain and/or reduce energy consumption and related expenditures.
Some vending/OCS operators have sought benefits in this area by applying an EnergyMiser from USA Technologies Inc. as an add-on device to select equipment (usually pre-EnergyStar) to ensure energy consumption reductions when a space is unoccupied or procuring a newer vending machine with built-in software featuring a “sleep mode” setting that automatically initializes an energy saving mode after a predetermined period of inactivity.
The linking of energy use and machine operations presents a natural synergy for conservation. At the time a space becomes unoccupied (no persons sensed in the area), all non-critical equipment functions can be automatically controlled or turned off, coming back on in order to maintain product freshness through a proper holding temperature. Sensors can be programmed to automatically control a certain type of lighting, refrigeration, and other features through ‘power-down’ sequencing.
The evolution of formal energy standards for beverage vending machines began with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005). Specifically, the following items of the Act were considered critical to development:
- Sections 135(a)(3) and 136 (a)(3) defines the terms applicable to beverage vending machines.
- Sections 135(c)(4) directs DOE to issue by rule, no later than Aug. 8, 2009, energy conservation standards effective for equipment to be manufactured on or after Aug. 8, 2012.
- Section 135(b) directs DOE to adopt American National Standards Institute/American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ANSI/ASHRAE) Standard 32.1-2004 as the test procedure for equipment evaluation.
The above actions were the first set of energy conservation regulations at the federal level. In 2007, a subsection was added to existing legislation that requires any new or amended energy conservation standard adopted after July 1, 2010 to incorporate ‘‘standby mode” and “off mode” energy use. Revised DOE minimum energy standards relative to vending are scheduled to take effect no later than 2012 with a review of the standards taking place every five years. DOE requirements tend to be more stringent and thereby may override many state and municipal regulations, making it easier to understand and comply.