In City Furniture’s journey to becoming carbon neutral by 2040, there is no such thing as a small step. Some steps, however, are bigger than others.
City took one of those big steps this week by putting the first all-electric terminal tractor in the Southeast to work, moving hundreds of semi-trailers and containers at the firm’s massive distribution center in Tamarac, Fla.
Earlier this year, the Home Furnishings Association member set the complex operational goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040. Its 2040 Green Promise encompasses the company’s showrooms, warehouses and offices, its statewide delivery fleet and recycling initiatives.
The company already leads the U.S. furniture industry with more than 300,000 square feet of LEED-certified showroom space and is converting its delivery truck fleet to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) instead of diesel fuel. Every year its in-house recycling equipment keeps 6 million pounds of cardboard, plastic and Styrofoam waste out of landfills.
Green and cost-effective
City Furniture President Andrew Koenig says the electric yard tractors are an effective alternative to the retail industry’s traditional diesel-fueled vehicles. “Getting to net-zero by 2040 demands that we find every viable way to make our operations more environmentally friendly,” says Koenig. “We want other retailers to know that this new approach to fleet yard operations is a practical, cost-effective way to improve warehousing and distribution.
“As we move closer to our 2040 Green Promise, focused on having fully carbon-neutral operations by 2040, we’re pleased to show that electric yard tractors are an effective alternative to the retail industry’s traditional diesel-fueled yard vehicles,” says Koenig.
Trucking emissions reduced by 45 percent
As one of the national furniture industry’s largest and “greenest” furniture retailers, City Furniture has been a pioneer in building eight showrooms to meet national Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, and the firm has converted its 144-truck delivery fleet to run on compressed natural gas. Logging more than 12 million miles on CNG since 2014, the company estimates it has cut its trucking emissions by 45 percent.
City Furniture is the first company in the Southeastern U.S. to purchase the T2E Ottawa terminal tractor, which Canada-based vehicle manufacturer Kalmar introduced in 2018. The furniture retailer acquired the zero-emission, lithium-ion battery-powered terminal tractor to move semi-trailers around the yard at the 900,000-square-foot main distribution center. Compared with traditional diesel-powered terminal tractors, the equipment operates quietly and reduces maintenance costs, since it runs clean and has fewer moving parts. Producing less noise, vibration and heat than diesel versions, electric terminal tractors also benefit their drivers, Koenig said. The T2E’s on-board inverter changer allows the machine to be charged during working breaks.
City Furniture also uses four CNG-powered semi-trucks at its Tamarac and Ocoee, Fla., distribution centers. Five all-electric Tesla Semi trucks currently on order will move large loads from South Florida to Ocoee.