Ways We’re Working More Sustainably

Three Ways We’re Working More Sustainably

Reusing Wastewater in Texas

Our Engine Center in Seguin, Texas, manufactures, tests and paints diesel engines for Caterpillar customers. These activities generate a variety of byproduct materials, the most significant of which is the process water that comes from engine hot testing. At one point, the facility produced more than 100,000 gallons of wastewater every month. To reduce this amount, we designed and installed a system that passes the used water through a series of progressively smaller filters that remove large debris and oil, then through micro-filters and activated charcoal filters. Once scrubbed, the water is stored in a clean tank and reused in the testing process, virtually eliminating the need for municipal city water. This process has reduced the amount of wastewater generated by the facility by 90 percent in its first year.

The micro-filtration system differs from the technology that is typically used in manufacturing facilities. Samples were sent to the system’s manufacturer to show that the system could handle the oil, fuel, and coolant present in the water before launching the system. The filtration unit has been a success since its inception, and similar technology could be applied at other engine testing facilities.

Following Construction Best Practices in South Africa

In Gauteng, South Africa, the project engineers of the Johannesburg Distribution Center (JDC) used Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles as a model in designing the new warehouse and office facility. Energy-saving initiatives include LED lighting for both the building and multi-tier shelving systems and energy-efficient batteries for mobile equipment. The batteries use electrolyte circulation to prevent overcharging, which can lead to unnecessary uses of water and energy.

The building also incorporates a 150kWp solar rooftop using Caterpillar PV modules to supply a portion of the facility’s energy needs, generating 256 MWh of electricity per year. The panels were installed by local Cat® dealer Barloworld Power. Engineers compared the building’s expected annual consumption to a baseline building that meets the standards of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and found that the new building will use up to 4.1 gigawatts less, a 65 percent savings.

Importantly, the facility installed a 100,000 liter (26,400 US gallon) rainwater storage tank to harvest rainwater and reduce potable water needed. Rainwater is used for warehouse floor cleaning, toilets and irrigation of the green space. Solar boilers installed on the office roof heats water for sanitary uses, saving energy needed to produce hot water.