The Illinois Green Business Association (IGBA) presented the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) with its Green Business Certification at the MTD Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. MTD is the first public transit district in Illinois to complete the program, and the 39th organization to become a green certified business through the IGBA.
Press Release, May 28
MTD is fortunate to have received grants to execute large scale capital projects that resulted in significant environmental and financial savings. Recent projects at our Administration and Operations Facility included the installation of a geothermal HVAC system, permeable pavers in the building’s parking lot, and a white roof. During the past seven months, our Maintenance Facility installed a solar array and Illinois Terminal (MTD’s intermodal facility in downtown Champaign) acquired funds to execute an LED lighting retrofit.
But what about the little things? There are numerous day-to-day tweaks that may seem small, but add up to significant savings over time. “MTD has been committed to sustainable practices for over a decade,” said Jane Sullivan, Grant Manager/Sustainability Planner. “The result has been lots of thoughtful sustainability changes made over the years, but MTD hasn’t tracked everything, or gotten credit, for all these little things we’re already doing.”
To complete the Illinois Green Business Association’s (IGBA) Certification Program, Sullivan needed to collect all of these “thoughtful changes,” verify they were still occurring, and confirm the changes were environmentally-friendly. Since she began working at MTD in 2012, there were many projects that predated her. The IGBA Certification presented a wonderful opportunity to bring all the years together.
“Incorporating sustainable business practices are not just good for the environment, but economically efficient,” said Cassie Carroll, IGBA’s Executive Director. “We help businesses better manage their assets and utilities, putting money back into their bottom line. Businesses across Illinois have realized the benefits of these business-friendly green practices and, in turn, are helping our communities understand just why sustainable practices are so important.”
Some of the changes Sullivan documented for the certification included a switch to purchasing materials made with recycled content. “This included purchasing printer paper, letterhead paper, envelopes, business cards, toilet paper, paper towels, and trash bags made with varying amounts of recycled material,” said Sullivan.
Another credit MTD received was through an initiative by MTD Maintenance Director Dave Moore. He oversaw the installation of light sensors across all three MTD facilities in rooms of lower use. This helped eliminate human error when lights were left on after someone left a room.
“Our international certification for our Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS) was a tremendous undertaking that the District is very proud of, but it doesn’t affect every single employee on a daily basis,” said Sullivan. “The IGBA Certification encouraged us to focus on the necessities that are used by every employee, every day. It makes this certification very local and personal for the District.”
There are nearly a dozen areas for businesses to earn points in that add up towards their IGBA Certification. The Program Awareness area gave MTD the opportunity to bring the sustainability message closer to every employee.
“In previous ‘Green Trainings,’ we focused on the ISO 14001:2004 certification – the Environmental Management System,” said Sullivan. “But IGBA reminded us and organized us to better present these important day-to-day things that every employee of the District sees and is impacted by.” Bus operators in particular will get this opportunity as they begin Summer Review Training Thursday of this week. Sullivan will present an updated sustainability talk that will share some of the items collected for the IGBA Certification.
“We at the IGBA congratulate MTD for their large accomplishment of reaching accreditation through our green business certification program. MTD is a leader in the transportation industry, not just for their exemplary services offered to the C-U community, but for their sustainability initiatives,” said Carroll. “MTD incorporated 110 green practices in nine areas of sustainability, from ensuring lights be turned off at night to installing a solar array on their garage, to utilizing green cleaning products. MTD has truly demonstrated their commitment to sustainability throughout all aspects of their business, and we are proud to have worked with them at the Illinois Green Business Association.”
Another benefit to pursuing the IGBA Certification was working with a local not-for-profit. The IGBA was formed by University of Illinois alumni who were challenged to answer the question, “How do you green Green Street?” Years later, IGBA has guided business across the entire state towards their certification.
“It’s great for MTD to be able to utilize the knowledge of a wonderful local group like the IGBA,” said Sullivan. “We’re able to support IGBA, while working towards a common cause.” To continue the partnership, Sullivan joined an IGBA Technical Advisory Group on Transportation.
Has your business completed IGBA’s Certification? What do you think is MTD’s next sustainability frontier?