8 Goes Green: New Emission Standards Make Heavy Equipment Cleaner

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COLUMBIA - Construction companies will now have to meet certain emission standards that should better the environment.

Currently, the machines that power most construction equipment emit out NOX particles, which is an oxide of nitrogen particles. Essentially, this is what is harmful to the environment. 

Beginning in 2014, non-road engine emissions regulations in the U.S., Canada, and the EU will require engine and equipment manufacturers to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen. This will apply to all construction and industrial equipment and engines produced on or after the regulation effective dates.

Roger Hosslic, the Caterpillar instructor at Linn State Technical College, said it is not new for construction companies to change their machines to meet emission standards. 

"This has been going on since the 1990s," Hosslic said. "And while this is good for the environment, it can become very costly if they keep changing the standards."

The new machine standards are referred to as Tier 4-Final.  Under that protocol, new machines are equipped with filters and catalysts able to remove particles and chemical before release into the atmosphere. 

"The end goal that this machine will produce is a combination of nitrogen and water, which actually is cleaner than what people breath in normally. You can actually stick your head in front of the pipe and be just fine," Hosslic said.

However, according to one construction manager, he said that the cost of these machines will make this more of a long term transition.