While noise levels on compressors and generators are not legislated at this time, quieter units do have a competitive advantage, Leupi says. "The quieter, the better," he says. "Quieter units can be more flexible and used for parties and in urban environments."
Chartters adds, "Especially in high-growth areas, we're seeing tighter quarters in construction zones. Developers and builders seeking to be good neighbors will want to minimize noise for the health and safety of their workers on site and for citizens in close proximity."
Another structural issue that isn't legislated yet in the United States but most likely will be is the use of fluid containment systems. This consists of sealing the bottom of the generator or compressor package so that in the event of fuel or oil leaks, the fluids will not contaminate the ground. This is vital on some jobsites which have to meet strict environmental standards, and it promises to be an issue on more and more sites as environmental restrictions increase. Right now, Howe says this feature is standard across Ingersoll Rand's mobile generator range.
Wacker also offers a spill containment option on its mobile generators, a choice Leupi says is becoming more and more popular, even for jobs that don't require such features.
"The spill containment option helps businesses mitigate risks," Leupi says. "Often, generators are rented to power pumps that maintain the ground water level at a jobsite, for example. If there was a fuel spill and the fluid got into the ground water, the [rental] company could face substantial cleanup costs. Spill containment systems are an insurance policy for prudent rental companies."
Worth the investment?
Few would argue with the need to be environmentally conscious when manufacturing generators and compressors, but will the added cost associated with the necessary technology sell?
"The challenge is educating rental companies about the benefits of quality and environmentally responsible [equipment]," says Chartters. "Investing in a durable unit that has been designed to reduce noise and provide oustanding fuel efficiency will pay for itself over time."
Portable power gets greener too
evaporative emissions which come from the gas cap, fuel tank and fuel line.
To meet 2008 CARB regulations on evaporative emissions, Wacker has designed its portable generators so that gasoline vapors from the vent cap are filtered through a carbon cannister. During engine operation, any captured vapors are recirculated back to the engine and burned, resulting in fewer emissions.
In addition, fuel tanks are being constructed of new plastics which are less permeable and allow fewer fumes to escape.