Operational Efficiencies at the Food Bank

Roadrunner operates out of a very large facility and has a large fleet of vehicles that it maintains and uses to transport food across New Mexico. These are needed in our fight against hunger but are expensive to maintain. We also greatly value our donations and grant support so we do everything we can to control our costs and stretch those donations further. Over the past few years, we’ve gone after every expense we could. Projects have included:

  • Electric efficiencies in the form of new warehouse lighting and motion sensors throughout the building to keep the lights off when not in use.  We changed several of our freezer and cooler doors to high speed which keep the refrigerated air where it belongs. Last, we were lucky enough to receive a donated solar panel which helps to supply some of our electricity needs.
  • We’ve focused on water use reduction both in the building with our clothing washers and by transforming our landscaping away from grass to native plants which should reduce our water usage about approximately 1/3.
  • Diesel fuel is a huge expense for us. As mentioned in Melody’s blog post, a single penny increase in the cost of diesel is equal to $400 annual impact to us because of the extensive driving that we do. To help with this, we’ve installed drag reducing fairings on the tractors and trailers and the entire fleet received new tires that create a lower profile again resulting in fuel efficiencies up to 18% for our long haul trucks.
  • We’ve moved our heating fuel purchases to a reseller which cost nothing to do but should save us over $5000 a year and insulated our 133,000 square foot warehouse roof which not only makes it more comfortable but has also made it quieter and brighter.
  • Last, we’ve greatly reduced our waste costs by completely revamping our warehouse processes to include a recycling program for everything from food to cardboard to plastic. This not only keeps tons (literally) out of the landfill but also generates revenue for us which we can fold back into the business making our overall waste costs almost neutral.

One might wonder how much all of this cost and if the expense has been worth it. That’s the best part of all. Every action listed on this page was either free and donated to us or paid for via a grant that was specific to that activity. That means that immediately upon completion of the project, the savings started to impact our bottom line. Also, while some of the projects will only last so long (think new tires for the fleet) most are a permanent change (like the insulation) that will continue to add value with very little additional investment needed.

We are always open to new ideas and suggestions so if you see something innovative or a grant that might help us do something new, please let us know. Visit www.rrfb.org/recycle for details about all our green initiatives.

Teresa Johansen is the Chief Operating Officer at Roadrunner Food Bank.

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