Reduce, Reuse & Recycle
As stewards of the environment, we are dedicated to operating in a way that limits our impact on local communities and their surrounding ecosystems. We are continuously improving our procedures, programs, tools and systems to mitigate risks and advance our environmental performance. We also routinely engage with stakeholders and hold ourselves accountable as a trusted business partner and responsible corporate citizen.
At Tesoro, we proactively seek ways to reduce, reuse and recycle materials within our operations. While our preference is to minimize the amount of waste generated, we also look for ways to reuse or reclaim waste that is created.
Waste is generated primarily when equipment is cleaned prior to maintenance or inspection. When we dispose of waste – both hazardous and non-hazardous – we do so in a safe and environmentally-responsible manner that meets federal and state regulations.
We understand how important it is to responsibly manage fresh water use, especially in areas of water stress or scarcity. We routinely evaluate our operations for opportunities to reduce our water use and improve water quality.
In our operations, we primarily use fresh water for cooling, steam generation and production. Some systems also require water to remove pollutants and particulate matter from our air emissions. Some of the water used in the refining process becomes recycled wastewater. Wastewater is properly treated so that it is safe to release back into the environment. We ensure that wastewater discharged from our refineries meets or surpasses regulatory standards, and we continue to assess how we may improve water quality in our treatment processes.
By working closely with local municipalities, we are also reducing our fresh water consumption by incorporating more recycled water into our operations. Increasing recycled water use reduces our consumption of potable water and allows surrounding areas to conserve more water. For example, up to 25 percent of the water our Los Angeles Refinery uses in its refining process is recycled wastewater, which substantially reduces our fresh water consumption.
Recovering and Reusing More Steam
In 2014, Tesoro completed an upgrade of the Cogeneration Heat Recovery Steam Generator systems (HRSGs) at our Los Angeles Refinery. The upgrade involved a hardware change from double-row economizer and evaporator modules to more efficient triple-row versions. The improved hardware allows excess heat recovery from the combustion turbine exhaust, which generates steam. This steam is then used in place of steam generated by traditional fuel-fired boilers. This means that the cogeneration facility can continue to operate at the same rate while using less energy and reducing air emissions.
In 2015, the upgrades generated 9.5 percent more steam than the previous system, reducing the net energy use for the refinery by roughly 28 MMBTU (million British Thermal Units) per hour. Additionally, the upgrade reduces air emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by an estimated 12,000 tons per year and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 20,000 pounds each year.
Tesoro routinely evaluates our operational infrastructure for ways to improve and will continue to do so with an eye on those projects that help enhance efficiencies, reducing both energy use and emissions.
Improved Retail Energy Efficiency
In 2015, Tesoro captured an opportunity to improve energy efficiency at retail station locations. What began as a routine review and replacement of our retail lighting systems was quickly recognized as a chance to update those systems with technologies that would be more effective, more efficient and create a greater sense of security for our customers.
This reduction in energy use was accomplished through a suite of improvements: replacing traditional incandescent and fluorescent lighting with LED bulbs, adding smart sensors to in-store coolers, installing motion sensor lights in the back of the store and converting walk-in coolers to a more efficient power system.
LED bulbs are, by design, far more efficient than the incandescent and fluorescent bulbs that came before them. Additionally, many customers say they feel safer under these bright lights than at stations where lighting is outdated and dim.
The smart sensors installed inside in-store coolers activate door heaters, which prevent condensation on the windows, only when needed. Similarly, motion sensors were installed in the back-of-house to turn lights on only when someone is present. Finally, the conversion of evaporator coils in the walk-in coolers from AC to DC power means the coolers operate at the same high standard while using less energy.
These changes were successfully made at 60 locations in 2015, and we will continue to make them throughout the entirety of our retail network — some seven hundred stores — over the next two years.