Valdosta Daily Times

August 17, 2013

Fueling the future

The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — Thanks to the Langdale Company, Valdosta is on the cutting edge of innovation in energy conservation and adaptation to alternative fuels. The company has long been a proponent of environmentally friendly initiatives, planting more trees than have been harvested during its 100-plus year history. It has also added safety standards to plants such as Langboard to ensure particulate emissions are minimal. The company began its biofuels conversion nearly a decade ago, burning the byproducts of its MDF and OSB manufacturing to fuel the plants.

With the company’s investment in a CNG, or Compressed Natural Gas station, one of only eight in Georgia, it is not only saving money by converting trucks to run on CNG, but offers a valuable refueling site for companies such as Saddle Creek Transportation, a large-scale distribution operation for many major national companies.

Due to the company’s investment, a cost-saving, environmentally friendly alternative is now available to local governments and the school systems, in addition to other business and industry.

Take the example of the Leon County School System, which began converting school buses to CNG two years ago. There, the cost savings is approximately $5,000 annually per bus in addition to the decrease in emissions.

What if the hundreds of school buses in Valdosta and Lowndes County did the same? The savings over several years could offset education cuts, at least minimizing their impact.

Perhaps the governments can began replacing their fleets of garbage trucks, police and sheriff’s cars, government vehicles, etc., with CNG-equipped vehicles, not only for potential cost savings but environmental issues, too. Valdosta could become a truly “green” community.

Although the Langdale Company was the first to open a CNG station in Valdosta, others will soon follow in the next few years as increased production of CNG vehicles will increase demand.

If the U.S. can become more energy independent, wars in the Middle East, control of oil production, and increased energy consumption in China, all given as reasons for high gas prices today, would have a significantly reduced impact on the country’s economy.

And to think that Valdosta is at the forefront of the energy alternative movement in the country.