Rosendin Electric has always been an advocate of LEED sustainable construction and green building practices. As part of its commitment to promote ecological responsibility, this week the contractor deployed a fleet of all-electric forklifts in its Bay Area warehouses.

Rosendin Electric has just replaced its fleet of propane-powered forklifts for its supply yard in both its San Jose, Calif., headquarters and in San Francisco. The switchover will both reduce pollutants from the propane emissions and will save energy by using smart-chargers to recharge the forklifts during off-peak hours. An added advantage to the migration is better safety in the warehouse. The forklift controls are completely programmable, including limiting the maximum speed, making them safer to operate.

“The biggest savings we are going to see from this conversion is from our carbon footprint,” said Victor Mumford, fleet manager for Rosendin Electric. “The longer we use them, the more energy efficient they become because we can charge them when the electricity rates are low and they generate increased savings over time. They aren’t suited for use on the job sites, but they certainly fit our needs in the yard.”

Mumford estimates that converting to electrical forklifts will save thousands of dollars in operating costs, as well as almost 40,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and 18,000 pounds of carbon monoxide. The life of the electric forklifts is estimated to be 15 years or more, which is comparable to diesel or propane forklifts. Based on current use patterns, Mumford estimates the forklifts can be charged once a week which should extend their usefulness and realize further savings in cost and energy.

This move is the latest in Rosendin Electric’s efforts to “green” its operating fleet. In 2006, the company provided its safety personnel with Ford Escape hybrids, saving an estimated 54 metric tons of carbon per year. In 2008, Rosendin electric superintendents were moved from gas-powered pickup trucks to Escape hybrids saving an addition 126 metric tons per year. In 2010, the general superintendents were given hybrid pickup trucks, saving 28 metric tons of carbon pollutants per year.

“We promote green building practices and work with our clients to help them create energy-efficient buildings that deliver savings in energy consumption and operating costs,” said Tom Sorley, CEO of Rosendin Electric. “As part of our commitment to green construction practices, it’s our duty to use every strategy we can to eliminate pollutants and minimize our carbon footprint. Migrating to a greener fleet of forklifts and field vehicles is just one small step we can make to demonstrate our commitment to green construction."