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Case study

How Keltbray achieved fuel savings with a no-idle approach onsite

22 June 2022

A fuel-saving competition for plant operators enabled Keltbray to cut the time machines spend idling onsite, reducing its carbon emissions and saving thousands on fuel.

How Keltbray achieved fuel savings with a no-idle approach onsite
Idling of vehicles onsite is an industry-wide problem. Image courtesy of Keltbray

The challenge

Idling of vehicles onsite is an industry-wide problem, not only from a carbon and air quality point of view but also from a cost perspective.

It’s become even more costly given the recent hike in the price of red (rebated) diesel following government tax changes.

The solution

In 2019, construction engineering company Keltbray embraced the principles of ‘gamification’ and applied them to its operations.

It launched a fuel-saving tournament in its haulage department to encourage drivers to cut vehicle idling times.

The driver with the largest efficiency gain over any given month was awarded a prize.

Cash sums were also given to plant operators who demonstrated the biggest improvements over the course of the competition.

The initiative resulted in considerable fuel and carbon emission savings as well as increased engagement with Keltbray teams, exceeding everyone’s expectations.

The tournament initially ran for three months and in the following 12-month period, the business saved £65,000 in fuel and recorded the longest period of zero caused accidents.

The planning stage

The initiative needed careful planning and groundwork, including building a database to standardise data from different types of machines.

This is because assessing and reporting excavator performance is not as straightforward as for HGVs.

A bespoke database allowed Keltbray to quantify and challenge the efficiency of its onsite operations.

The initiative showed that even when investing in the most efficient technology, if it’s not used in an organised way, there will be room for improvement.

The rollout

In March last year, Keltbray widened the fuel-saving tournament to excavators above 8t.

It began with a trial at London’s UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology project, where machines idled on average 30% of the time.

In the first month of the trial, idling was reduced by almost 50% across the five machines onsite.

Donatas Barstys, a plant operator in Keltbray’s structures division, achieved the biggest improvement, reducing his idling by 62%.

Following this trial, the concept was rolled out across other Keltbray projects that used excavators above 8t. Between May and December, the following savings were made:

  • Some 5,000 hours of idling (a reduction of 38%)
  • £14,000 worth of diesel
  • 37 tonnes of CO2e emissions

The outcome

Incentivising change, coupled with effective training and engagement, were key to the success of this initiative. The lessons learnt will inform future carbon-saving projects.

Keltbray has shown that when the different arms of a business collaborate and get support from the project management team, real change can be achieved.

Indeed, it won a Silver Award at last year’s Green Apple Environmental Awards in recognition of the initiative.

The tournament is continuing this year and Keltbray is aiming to reduce idling times to 10%.

ICE’s Carbon Champions

ICE’s Carbon Champions initiative aims to celebrate individuals and their teams who are committed to achieving net zero.

Applicants are invited to submit their examples of carbon reduction in practice, giving details of their projects’ carbon savings.

Apply to become an ICE Carbon Champion

Name of Project: Fuel-saving tournament

ICE Carbon Champions involved in this project:

  • Darren James, Keltbray
  • Kiro Tamer, Keltbray
  • Kiro Tamer, head of environmental sustainability at Keltbray