Electric Vehicles

The Eugene Water & Electric Board Recognizably and Certifiably Green

July 2013, Green Fleet Magazine - Feature

by Shelley Mika - Also by this author

The Eugene, Ore., Water & Electric Board (EWEB) recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Since its creation, the municipal utility has established a legacy of caring for the community and the environment.

“The EWEB has historically been, and continues to be, committed to meeting community needs by operating our utility in a sustainable way,” said Gary Lentsch, fleet services supervisor for EWEB. “This includes our internal operations, our products and services, and our place in the community at large.”

To continue this legacy, EWEB has worked toward achieving Tier 5 CLEANFleet Certification (CFC) from the Coalition for Green Fleet Management (CGFM). Certification was administered by Fleet Counselor Services (FCS), which provided onsite consulting, testing, and validation during EWEB’s journey to certification. Carol Robertson, a senior consultant for FCS was impressed by the EWEB team’s dedication during the process.

“EWEB’s team worked hard to obtain certification. I was impressed with their team’s pride and ownership of their program,” she said.

LENTSCH
LENTSCH

With fleet vehicles ranging across the entire spectrum, including hybrid-passenger cars to bucket trucks, digger derricks, dump trucks, troubleshooter trucks, cranes, vacuum trucks, backhoes, and excavators, EWEB set out to shore up its operation and make its sustainable efforts official.

“When we heard about CLEANFleet Certification at the 2012 Government Fleet Expo (GFX), we felt that this was the opportunity to compare and certify ourselves on a national platform,” Lentsch said. GFX is produced by Bobit Business Media, publisher of Green Fleet magazine.

Committing to Sustainability

Even before participating in the CFC program, EWEB’s commitment to sustainability was already clear.

“The Eugene community has a culture of expecting people to think about the environmental impacts of their practices, and create ways to be more efficient in their business decisions,” Lentsch said. “We look at the long term and at our role within the community to provide the basic services of water and electricity with the least environmental impact.”

EWEB’s first certification came in 2011, when it was certified through EcoBiz, a local program that recognizes Oregon businesses and organizations that reach high standards in environmental protection.

“After this certification, we were looking at different programs that would solidify and distinguish our green fleet practices,” Lentsch said. “We looked at several state programs and found they were all over the board as far as comparability. Very few of them really focused on the shop operations of having a green fleet operation.”

That’s when EWEB’s Fleet Services department began participating in the CFC program, which uses a structured method to analyze business practices and certify environmental stewardship.

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