In the UK, commercial vans outnumber trucks by a factor of 8 to 1 — and account for 14% of the country’s total CO2 emissions. And yet most of the drivers, as we’ve discussed before, have a strong interest in the environment and learning about ways to reduce their impact. Enter Green Transport Network, sponsored by transport marketplace uShip, which aims to become a new destination resource for service technicians and other commercial van operators — to help them learn and adopt best practices for lower emissions, pick up helpful advice and resources, and join a community of van drivers and operators interested in going green, even if they’re still stuck behind the wheel of a diesel-powered van.

For starters, the site kicks off with “10 Facts About UK Vans” that is eye-opening itself:

  1. The UK has 3.24 million delivery vans
  2. UK vans produce approximately 14% — or about 17 million tons — of the UK’s freight transport CO2 emissions
  3. Vans in the UK have driven 66.6 billion kms since 1950
  4. 30% of vans in the UK are used for collections and deliveries
  5. 10-15% of the time, vans drive empty, resulting in half a million tonnes of wasted carbon emissions
  6. 93% of vans use Diesel rather than petrol
  7. 67% of vans are owned by businesses
  8. 50% of vans on the road in 2009 are Heavy Vans (up to 3.5 tonnes) increase from 34% in 2000
  9. France is the only European country that registers more vans each year than the UK
  10. Vans collecting and delivery goods make longer average journeys than vans used for any other purpose

According to the new site, “The problem here is that the typical white van business owner is a difficult person to reach, frequently out on the road, and busy in the day-to-day operations needed to stay in business, with insufficient time to keep up to date with the various initiatives and guidance out there on the many different websites.”

The site offers a variety of resources — from CO2 calculators to simple “solutions” like smarter driving and carbon offsetting.  (Users can take an online driving course aimed at cutting back on emissions.) The site also links visitors up with courses in smarter driving – simple techniques that produce an average of 15 percent fuel savings – subsidized by the Energy Saving Trust., a U.K.-based organization that helps people conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions.

More about green technology on The SmartVan.

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ABOUT Sara Suddes

San Francisco-based contributor Sara Suddes writes frequently about small business, the economy and technology.