October 8, 2019 2:45 PM, EDT

ATA Launches Affinity Program With Energy Services Firm UrbanVolt

ATA's Kevin Traver (left) and UrbanVolt CEO Kevin MaughanATA's Kevin Traver (left) and UrbanVolt CEO Kevin Maughan by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

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SAN DIEGO — American Trucking Associations announced the launch of a new affinity program through which member organizations can partner with the federation and UrbanVolt — a Dublin- and Chicago-­based energy service company — to curtail energy costs.

“This affinity program for ATA members is an effort to create a new membership asset that supports our members,” said Kevin Traver, ATA’s chief commercial officer.

Affinity programs are a member benefit offered by organizations through which special services and discounts are offered to members as a way of increasing revenue for both organizations.

UrbanVolt said its energy-­saving system relies on LED lighting, which uses less energy than traditional bulbs, along with solar panels at participating facilities.

“For the UrbanVolt affinity program, the ATA members will receive reduced costs by 20% with their warehouse and terminal energy solution products,” Traver said. “UrbanVolt is looking to decrease the cost of energy a company is spending in its facilities. All of this creates for our members a sustainability program. They’re reducing their overall carbon footprint and saving money at the same time.”

Here’s how the program will work.

UrbanVolt will replace, at no upfront cost, the facility’s older lighting systems with LED systems. UrbanVolt would then own the lighting systems and be responsible for maintenance and operation. ­After the lighting is installed, solar panels and batteries would be put on the facility’s roof or on the ground nearby, providing ­power to run other sections of the warehouse, making the facility more energy self-sufficient.

Energy that is not used can be stored in batteries or sold back to the local utility as a revenue generator.

“Most people see warehouses or a factory as a big metal shed with a concrete floor. We see it differently. We see them as potentially a network of virtual power plants that can provide clean, green energy into their local communities which they operate,” UrbanVolt CEO Kevin Maughan told Transport Topics. “One warehouse that we convert to become energy-­efficient is the same as taking 200 homes completely off the grid.”

The warehouse operator and UrbanVolt would split the cost savings from the new lighting and share the profits from reselling the energy generated by the solar panels.

ATA said the relationship with UrbanVolt has the potential to save trucking companies money.

“All of this creates, for our members, a sustainability program. They are reducing their overall carbon footprint, and as they do this, they are saving money,” Traver said. “So, it’s pretty much a win-win for any company that wants to be involved with UrbanVolt.”

“A partnership with ATA makes absolute sense from our standpoint in terms of getting into the very heart of the supply chain industry in the U.S. market,” Maughan said. “The trucking industry is, in general, coming under more and more pressure from a sustainability point of view.”

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