Union Pacific Railroad

At a Glance


Transport and Warehousing

Project Type

Building Energy Efficiency




Omaha, NE


Greg Zielinski helped Union Pacific uncover savings of over $1.1 million / year, plus nearly 10,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.


Greg Zielinski spent his summer as an EDF Climate Corps fellow in Omaha, Neb. at Union Pacific Railroad, a transportation company with approximately 32,000 miles of railroad in western USA. He was asked to focus on improving energy efficiency.


Zielinski championed a new strategy for energy management at Union Pacific, focusing on energy data management and a corporate structure for identifying and implementing energy efficiency opportunities. Zielinski aimed to show the potential of better energy management through focusing on energy reduction in air compressor systems and using more efficient lighting in Union Pacific’s maintenance shops. Zielinski found that lighting retrofits in Union Pacific’s maintenance shops were opportunities for saving energy.

Potential Impact

With over 3.5 million square feet of shop space, using LED lighting could save Union Pacific $569,000 annually and cut its carbon emissions by 5,500 metric tons per year. At one of Union Pacific’s rail yards in California, an audit identified more than $160,000 in annual electric expenses due to leaks in the compressor system. Zielinski showed that by fixing only 25 percent of the leaks in 50 large compressor systems across Union Pacific, they could save $407,000 in annual electricity expenses, a savings of 6.7 million kWh per year. In total, Greg’s analysis could save Union Pacific over $1.1 million in annual operating costs, 18 million kWh each year, and nearly 10,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.

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