Green Operations

‘Green is Good’ for Evergreen Fleet Initiative

September 2009, Green Fleet Magazine - Feature

by Mike Scott - Also by this author

A coalition of Washington State fleet managers has developed an initiative focused on how to efficiently and cost-effectively “green” public sector fleets.

The Evergreen Fleet Initiative is a group of approximately 30 fleet managers attempting to define what constitutes a green fleet. The group then communicates their findings to fleets in the Puget Sound region and beyond. It is a leadership-driven coalition striving to build strict, realistic standards and formally certify fleets as a “best practice” example.

Proponents of the program are working to send the message “green is good” to an audience of public and private fleet managers and administrators across a wide region. In doing so, they aim to establish and implement a broad range of realistic standards or best practices to positively impact the surrounding environment.

Defining Best Practices to Reduce Costs & Emissions
In its early stages, the coalition defined 18 best practices. Topics the initiative addresses include anti-idling strategies, retrofitting diesel-fueled vehicles, procurement issues, measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and more.

“We want to tie some of our goals to those laid out by our State, when possible, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout our fleet by 2 percent per year, a very realistic goal,” said Leslie Stanton, a manager with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency in Washington.

Evergreen Fleet Initiative membership was established by late summer 2008, at which time the group began plans to test their findings in five fleets. One fleet in the test group was managed by Allen Mitchell, CPFP, fleet manager at Snohomish County Department of Public Works.

A nonpartisan consultant was also hired to assist initiative members in acting on their findings. The consultant provided recommendations on next steps and how best to set achievable processes.

Among the questions researched were which strategies to implement, how agencies could effectively manage the certification process, and what types of tweaking and refining are typically needed.

“The goal is to put enough rigor and meaning behind these standards so they are enforceable, realistic, and beneficial to the community,” Mitchell said.

More than 90 percent of coalition members provided answers to questions based on their own experiences. Fleet profiles were entered into a master spreadsheet that calculated greenhouse gas amounts. A grouping of assets in conjunction with NAFA Fleet Management Association guidelines helped classify vehicles appropriately so accurate rating schemes could be developed and progress effectively measured.

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