Environmental Responsibility

Federal Signal is proud of its long-standing commitment to human and environmental betterment. We make products that move material, clean infrastructure, and protect the communities where we work and live. Our environmental commitment is a three-pronged effort:

  • We will continue to participate actively in educating the public regarding environmental conservation
  • We will assess the impact of our manufacturing plants and products on the environment and the communities in which we live and operate with a goal of continuous improvement
  • We will continue to partner with our customers to innovate solutions that address their needs for environmentally responsible products

Improving our Environmental Performance on an Ongoing Basis

Federal Signal has undertaken an effort to systematically audit environmental and safety risk at its facilities. Our goal is to audit our largest facilities annually. Once the audits have been completed, any identified issues will be addressed and tracked using a defined process. Summary reports of the audits will be provided to executive management, reinforcing our overall commitment to environmental improvement and safety.

We follow a division-led approach for managing and improving environmental performance. With support from Federal Signal's senior management, each division is directly responsible for implementing the most impactful environmental performance improvement opportunities for their particular operations. As we evaluate and strive to improve our environmental performance, we take a three-pronged approach:

  1. Auditing our facilities to drive continuous improvement. Federal Signal’s annual environmental, health and safety compliance audits help ensure that the company’s facilities meet regulatory requirements and reinforce Federal Signal's commitment to safeguarding the environment. The audits also highlight the ways in which we go above and beyond baseline compliance to reduce our company’s impact on the environment and preserve natural resources.

  2. Developing products that help customers to keep their own environmental commitments. Using a new product development process that emphasizes emerging customer needs, we continually innovate our products to reduce their environmental impact during use, and to increase their environmental cleanup performance.

  3. Implementing policies that guide our activity. Each Federal Signal division is responsible for complying with the Federal Signal Enterprise Environmental Policy. Everyone in the organization has a responsibility to preserve and protect the environment, conduct operations in a safe manner, and recognize the potential impacts of our operations.

In addition, some of our businesses pursue third-party certifications as part of Federal Signal's ongoing drive for overall operational excellence. The well-respected International Organization for Standardization (ISO) develops standards and criteria for effective environmental management systems. At the end of 2018, our Vactor business had ISO 14000/14001 certification for environmental management, Vama is ISO 14001/2015 certified, and we are considering the certification process for additional groups.



We are committed to sustainability initiatives in our products and across all of our businesses. 


Elgin Street Sweepers are considered a critical component of city, county, and state environmental maintenance programs. Our sweepers are designed, first and foremost, to keep street surfaces clean, and can effectively maintain all the elements of a modern road system, including porous pavement surfaces and catch basins. And because roads are the upstream collection funnels to regional watersheds, our sweepers are considered a key element of watershed management best practices

Elgin Sweeper has offered alternative-fuel options since 1995, with the debut of the CNG-powered Eagle sweeper. Soon after, Elgin rolled out CNG versions of other popular sweepers, including the Crosswind, Broom Bear, and Pelican. 

The Pelican sweeper is also available in a waterless version, where dust is controlled using a set of shrouds instead of potable water. 

In 2019, Elgin Sweeper debuted the first full-size hybrid electric street sweeper, slashing carbon, nitrogen, and methane emissions by up to 30%. The hybrid Broom Bear is the first step on Elgin's path towards full electrification. 



Indoor plumbing is considered one of the most important inventions of modern times; but indoor plumbing doesn’t work well unless it has a sewer network to convey waste away from homes and businesses. Vactor sewer cleaners are considered the premier tool for keeping sewers clean, preventing blockages that can cause sewer overflows and unsanitary conditions. 

Historically, sewer cleaning has required the use of large amounts of potable water to clean and flush sewer pipes. Vactor's pioneering application of water recycling in sewer cleaning allows native sewer water to be used instead, nearly eliminating the need for clean water in the process. 

Many of our Vactor and Guzzler products, including the TRUVAC ParaDIGm (winner at the 15th annual Chicago Innovation Awards) promote safe digging practices.  Safe digging allows for cautious excavation that reduces potential damage to natural gas pipelines, telecommunication systems, electrical utilities, and sewer and water pipelines, and avoids hazardous liquids.  These practices protect people, property, and avoid environmental damage.


Mark Rite Lines:

Mark Rite Lines Equipment Company, Inc. (MRL)  has transitioned to using all emissions-compliant T4F diesel engines and reduced overall auxiliary engine use by engineering chassis transmission PTO powered hydraulics on many equipment models. This reduces fuel consumption and diesel particulate generation.

In 2019, MRL engaged in an extensive redesign of the debris vacuum system on our line removal/grooving trucks to increase vacuum efficiency and dust/debris containment. For 2020, we are introducing a high dump version of our line removal/grooving truck to further ease containment and disposition of millings debris.



All of Jetstream’s combustion-powered products meet or exceed EPA Tier IV emissions criteria. A smaller range of products are also available in electrically-powered variants

Jetstream also produces automation devices that minimize the use of water in surface cleaning jobs and isolate operators from dangerous working conditions. Associated effluent control systems prevent the escape of debris from cleaned surfaces, preventing contamination of local habitats and watersheds. 


Safety and Security Systems Group:

All of Federal Signal’s lightbars incorporate LED lighting technology. LEDs produce the same amount of light as incandescent and halogen bulbs, but use dramatically less electrical energy. By incorporating LEDs into our signaling devices, we deliver greater signaling effectiveness to our customers, with lower associated fuel burn. In addition to LED usage, some of Federal Signal’s lightbar options save on vehicle gasoline consumption by reducing aerodynamic drag on the vehicle. These Low Profile bars have benefits for police, fire, EMS, utility, and towing/recovery vehicles

Our Systems group produces regional-scale warning and mass notification systems that alert people to the approach of tsunamis, tornados, and other dangerous weather events. And with our introduction of the CommanderOne command and control product, we can take advantage of increased efficiencies enabled by operating in the cloud. 


Truck Bodies and Equipment International:

Travis Trailer’s rendering trailers contain and transport byproducts from the meat processing industry. These byproducts, such as blood, hide, and organs, have high commercial value in the form of leather goods, fertilizers and feed enhancers, and biofuels. Our rendering trailers allow the manufacturers of these secondary products to have reliable supply chains, and at the same time prevent the contamination of watersheds, local habitats, and public spaces with hazardous biological materials. 





As part of its recent plant expansion, Vactor Manufacturing has installed a 27,000 gallon in-ground water storage system in a new test building.  Each test bay is equipped with a manhole in front and a drain in the rear, allowing debris body water tightness testing to be conducted without drawing potable water from municipal supplies. Saving up to 3200 gallons of utility water per truck, this system prevents the consumption of an amount of water exceeding 50% of our Vactor facility consumption. Vactor has been registered for ISO 14000\14001 since 2010.

Vactor also operates an extensive recycling program:

  1. Recycling of all battery types – lead, nickel, Lithium-ion and alkaline

  2. All T8 and T12, Metal Halide light bulbs

  3. Plastic, paper and magazines

  4. In house cardboard recycling

  5. Aluminum, Stainless Steel, and Mild Steel

  6. Carbide machining tips

  7. Insulated copper wire

  8. Brass welding nozzles and tips

  9. Wooden shipping pallets: re-used if possible, otherwise ground for landfill covering

  10. Aluminum cans

  11. And more


Federal Signal Vama:

Federal Signal Vama has been ISO 14001/2015 certified since August 2017.



We have recently made investments in video conferencing capabilities across the Company, which has the benefit of reducing road and air travel between our business units and our corporate headquarters.


Environmental Impact

Resource Consumption Intensity

Electricity, natural gas, and water consumption are divided by total FSS yearly revenue; because Federal Signal has acquired companies throughout the documented period, our energy consumption has increased. A more appropriate measure of our consumption takes into account that growth, which is roughly indicated by revenue. The resulting quantity is termed consumption intensity.

Yearly consumption intensities are as follows:



Elgin Sweeper participates in a "Demand Response" energy consumption reduction program with NRG Energy, Inc.

GHG Emissions and Intensity

Environmental Operations and Products

As part of our ISO:14001:2015 registration at our Vactor facility, we continually review our impact on the environment and work to reduce it. Some of the larger areas of focus on a per unit basis are reducing landfill waste and emissions generated by solvents and paints. Below is a snapshot of progress made since our initial registration:






Reduce VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) Emissions from solvent and paint use

71.5 lbs/unit

53.3 lbs/unit

 48.42 lbs/unit

 42.53 lbs/unit

Reduce waste going to landfills

0.617 tons/unit

0.33 tons/unit

0.19 tons/unit

0.17 tons/unit

Increase recycling of wood/paper waste


0.42 tons/unit

0.62 tons/unit

0.63 tons/unit

 Additionally, we regularly review and invest in opportunities to reduce usage. Some examples are:

  • Converting outdoor and indoor lighting to LED
  • Implementing energy efficient welders, utilizing Pulse welding technology (35% less electricity than conventional)
  • Recycle heat generated by Powder Coat Paint ovens during fall and winter
  • Increase office insulation to reduce winter heat requirements
  • Install “speed doors” throughout plant to reduce heat loss during winter months
  • Implemented Infrared Oven for paint shop bake oven (a gas oven for curing paint but directs the heat at the metal and is more efficient in curing).


Policies & Practices

Environmental Risk

Operational Environmental Risk is managed by the corporate Internal Audit department, as part of standard enterprise-wide risk management procedures.

The company’s direct risk exposure to climate change comes primarily in the form of flood risk, and primarily in our Texas facilities. While there is little that the company can do to prevent the occurrence of flooding events, our facilities there are practiced at deploying measures to reduce the magnitude of water damage, with a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place.

The company’s indirect risk exposure to climate change is much broader: we acknowledge that climate change poses an array of risks to the customers and communities that we serve, and our success as a business is linked to their welfare. This is why we strive to make products that are continually better for the environment in their production, and by their production.

Environmental Oversight

Appointed by, and reporting to, the CEO, the Environmental Compliance Oversight Committee (ECOC) is responsible for the day-to-day implementation of our Enterprise Environmental Policy, including:

·       Tracking and promotion of the environmentally-relevant aspects of our products;

·       Collection, tabulation, analysis and reporting of energy and water consumption data at all our facilities;

·       Setting reduction goals and timelines for facility energy/water consumption intensity;

·       Monitoring and reporting of environmentally-relevant activities at our facilities, beyond energy and water consumption performance;

·       Tracking of risks and opportunities posed by climate change;

·       Managing internal and external communication regarding environmentally-related trends of relevance to our company.

ECOC membership includes the ECOC Chair and representatives from its business units, Corporate Legal, Audit, and Marketing departments. Federal Signal’s Board of Directors receives regular reports on environmental matters from the ECOC.