Understanding final Tier 4 regulations
Prime vs. standby generators, final Tier 4, and what it all means for facilities managers
With the advent of the EPA’s final Tier 4 regulations on diesel engine emissions, many facilities managers are feeling a little flummoxed about whether or not the new rules apply to them. Deciding which applications, for which pieces of machinery, and in which industries the rules apply can certainly be a little tricky to work through. This is especially true for facilities managers who keep track of many different generators with many different purposes. But once facilities managers are familiar with a few generator-specific exemptions to final Tier 4 rules, classifying them becomes far more simple.
Knowing how to classify your generator’s power application is the first step in definitively deciding if a generator falls under the umbrella of final Tier 4 emission standards. But before we delve too deeply into which generator applications are governed by the new rules, let’s pause for a brief refresher on the how, what and why of the final Tier 4 standards.
Final Tier 4 background
The new Tier 4 rules were enacted to further reduce two key pollutants which are emitted by diesel engines: particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). NOx are known to contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, one of the key ingredients in the formation of smog. PM exposure has been shown to adversely affect the respiratory system, with finer particles being capable of making it deep into a person’s lungs or heart, according to the EPA.
Prior to 1998, the EPA’s Tiered emissions scheme covered only diesel engines designed for on-highway use, such as with trucks and buses. After a health assessment conducted in 2002 concluded that long-term inhalation of diesel exhaust fumes posed a substantial lung cancer hazard to humans, final Tier 4 emission standards were designed to cut exhaust emissions from diesel engines by 90 percent.
The deadline for the implementation of these new rules arrived at the end of 2015. New diesel engines contracted or purchased in 2016 must comply with these rules, as long as they meet certain size and application criteria.
So, what does this all mean for facilities managers? Do final Tier 4 rules matter at all? When it comes to prime power and standby backup diesel generators in facilities like universities, hospitals and data centers, which rules apply?
Do final Tier 4 rules apply to my generator?
Prime versus standby, or emergency, power is the essential dichotomy for determining if your generator application falls under final Tier 4’s authority. When a generator is routinely expected to be the main provider of power (it’s the “prime power” source), then it does need to comply with the new Tier 4 rules. This is true even if the generator is a mobile one, brought to site with the intention of it providing all of that site’s power only for a period of time. Mobile generators acting in a prime power application are governed by final Tier 4.
Generators intended to provide power only in emergency situations, on the other hand, are not governed by the rules. Backup diesel generators are considered to be in use so infrequently that they can not contribute meaningfully to the levels of PM and NOx present in the atmosphere and hence are exempt. This means that, for FMs whose buildings or campuses have emergency generators because going without power isn’t an option, there’s no need to update those generators to be final Tier 4 compliant.
That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t maintenance and efficiency best practices that should be ignored, but that’s a topic for another day. For more background on the final Tier 4 rules and help determining if your application is subject, check out this handy final Tier 4 infographic.
Clayton Costello is Operations Manager of CK Power
Read the July issue of Business Review USA & Canada here
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”