MTD regrets the delayed publication of our weekly blog post, which is usually every Monday at 3 pm. But we are proud of the service we put on the street January 6, 2014 in the extreme cold weather and snow conditions. This blog post was written by Jane Sullivan, MTD’s Sustainability and Transportation Planner.
January is here again and we all know what that means…cold temperatures, snow-covered streets, and New Year’s resolutions. MTD strives to continually improve all aspects of service, including the impact that our service has on the environment.
Our ultimate environmental goal is for community members to have the confidence that when they use the bus for transportation, they are choosing an environmentally responsible and sustainable option. In order to accomplish this, MTD’s environmental commitment is present in everything we do—from the energy we use, to the policies implemented in our facilities.
MTD had significant environmental accomplishments in 2013. Among the most notable were achieving ISO 14001:2004 Certification for the Maintenance Department’s Environmental and Sustainability Management System, receiving the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award, and acquiring ten new diesel-electric hybrid buses to replace older standard diesel buses in MTD’s fleet.
We are proud of these achievements and are appreciative for the support we have received, but have no intention to rest on our laurels. Here is our list of New Year’s resolutions for 2014:
Use More Renewable Energy
Undeniably, MTD uses a significant amount of energy to make our services possible. Our energy consumption includes everything from diesel fuel and coach batteries, to the power needed for all bus stops and facilities. Using energy resources that have the ability to replenish themselves is an important aspect of environmental responsibility.
Installation of a 296.94 kilowatt photovoltaic system on the roof of MTD’s Maintenance will be completed in early 2014. The solar array is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 270 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents every year.
Plans are also underway for solar lighting at ten bus shelters across the District in 2014. Small solar panels will collect energy from the sun and batteries at each shelter will store that energy throughout the daylight hours in order to power LED lighting from dusk to dawn.
Conserving resources is an equally important step in preventing pollution and overconsumption. Specifically included in MTD’s plans for 2014 are reduction in energy, water, and plastic.
Starting this year, we expect to experience energy savings from an LED lighting retrofit at Illinois Terminal. We are currently wrapping up a project in which the first and second floor interior and exterior lights at this facility were replaced with more efficient LED bulbs. The reduced wattage will save energy and the bulbs will have a longer lifespan than the previous fluorescent, metal halide, and high pressure sodium light fixtures.
Another project at Illinois Terminal aims to reduce water consumption. All first- and second-floor fixtures will be replaced with high efficiency toilets and urinals in 2014. These low-flow models will use less than half the amount of water as the current fixtures.
In the last days of 2013, a high-efficiency electric water cooler with a bottle filling station was installed at MTD’s Administration and Operations Building. This new fixture replaced an older water fountain and is located in an area that the vast majority of District employees pass every day. The new water bottle filling station encourages employees to use refillable water bottles, avoiding the use of disposable plastic water bottles.
Keep on Improving
We can assure you that our environmental efforts will not stop at the items listed here. We have shared just a few of MTD’s environmental plans currently in place for 2014, and hope to surprise the community with more sustainable initiatives throughout the year.
Let MTD Help with Your Resolutions
Now that we have shared our resolutions with you, tell us what is on your list! Is your New Year’s Resolution to be more active, save money, or be more environmentally responsible? If so, MTD can help you with any and all of those things.
Research shows that individuals who use public transportation get over three times the amount of physical activity per day than those who do not. With the ability to avoid high gas prices, parking fees, and the affordability of MTD’s annual and monthly passes, taking the bus is a no-brainer for money saving. Lastly, using public transportation is more energy efficient than driving a single-occupancy vehicle. When you take the bus, you are sharing your trip with others and each rider’s environmental impact is decreased.
We hope you are as excited as we are about the many opportunities for environmentally sustainable improvements in 2014. Happy New Year!