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Evergreen Fleet Initiative Explores Standards
A coalition of more than 25 fleet managers in the state of Washington has developed an initiative focused on how to efficiently and cost-effectively “green” public fleets. Named the Evergreen Fleet Initiative, the group is attempting to define what constitutes a green fleet and communicate those findings to the entire Puget Sound region and beyond. The leadership-driven coalition strives to build strict standards that can be realistically achieved and formally certify the fleets as “best practice” examples.
More than 90 percent of coalition members provided answers to “greening” questions based on their own experiences. Fleet profiles were entered on a master spreadsheet where greenhouse gases were calculated. A grouping of assets in conjunction with National Fleet Management Association (NAFA) guidelines helped classify vehicles appropriately to develop accurate rating schemes and measure progress effectively.
The initiative’s guidelines will help fleet managers determine the impact of operating hours, drive time, and fuel consumption. Members will get a better handle on how best to manage the fleet at macro and micro levels.
In addition to testing strategies with existing county and local fleets, the group has developed case studies and cost-benefit analyses of private fleets that have experienced recent success using alternative fuels and other green measures. One local wood product manufacturer has saved more than $100,000 with a 2,000-percent return on his alternative-fuel investments by implementing such policies.
Documentation will be supplied to any fleet interested in Evergreen Fleet Initiative certification. More information on the coalition is available at www.evergreenfleets.org.
NAFA Applauds Green Leaders
The County of Riverside, Calif.; the City of Inglewood, Calif.; and the Snohomish County Public Works Department in Everett, Wash, were all recipients of NAFA’s 2nd Annual Green Fleet Awards, designed to reward individuals helping green their organization while improving their fleet’s efficiency.
Riverside County’s fleet introduced two green initiatives to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors that were unanimously approved. The first initiative instituted a policy calling for the use and purchase of county vehicles and included a 25-mpg minimum for fleet vehicle purchases and an annual review/revision of minimum mile per gallon limits. The second initiative implemented environmentally preferred purchasing and included the creation of an E-85 fuel infrastructure for County of Riverside vehicles as well as mandating all patrol vehicle purchases to be flex-fuel models.
The City of Inglewood instituted a six-year alternative-fuel plan that focused on replacing 143 vehicles and implementing a green depot fueling infrastructure. The total annual savings from these programs is more than $100,000. Future goals include the replacement of 100 percent of city vehicles using alternative zero emission equipment.
Snohomish County Public Works, has developed a biodiesel infrastructure, retrofitted 109 diesel-powered vehicles and equipment with diesel oxidation catalysts, and developed and tested the “Evergreen Fleets Initiative.” In addition, the department has reduced CO2 by over 2 million lbs.
NAFA Fleet Management Association recognized the State of Ohio Department of Administrative Services as a 2009 Larry Goill award recipient, noting it used a “completely original, low-cost procedure that taps into human behavior to achieve desired results.”
The department created an Alternative Fuel Scorecard, which included simple green-yellow-red scoring to indicate the fleet agency’s progress in keeping up with a 2006 Ohio state requirement mandating alternative-fuel use in capable state vehicles. The regulations spelled out the minimum amounts of alt-fuel consumption required each year, with structured increases in succeeding years.
A spreadsheet was developed to indicate each agency’s goal, a monthly running tally, percentage of usage towards the goal, and annual projected amounts based on current usage. Since the scorecard system was first implemented, the use of E-85 increased 701 percent and B-20 use increased 2,364 percent.
The scorecard system was developed with fairness in mind, with goals prorated on actual usage and progress measured accordingly. Results are simple to understand and interpret with a green-yellow-red system to indicate progress (green), caution (yellow), and no progress (red).
Polk County, Fla.’s fleet department created an incentive program to encourage county employees to drive more fuel efficiently. A “55” sticker was placed on the back of county vehicles that can be driven at or above 55 mph. The sticker represents a county employee’s commitment to avoid exceeding 55 mph while driving on all roadways within the County, except for the Interstate, as a way to save fuel costs.
How Fleets are Going Green
"We created a glove box-size trip guide with the exact location of each E-85 retail site to assist drivers. We have begun to pilot a GPS program that provides the same info electronically while we travel."
—David May, specifications manager, Iowa Department of Transportation
"Coordinate a PHEV workgroup to evaluate plug-in hybrids and infrastructure and the feasibility of using them in fleet."
—Barb Bonansinga, fleet manager, Illinois Fleet Central Management
"We placed hybrid vehicles in areas that provide us the greatest return. We have also placed hybrid Ford Escapes in police patrol and have realized about a 50-percent increase in fuel mileage."
—Charlie Caudill II, CEM, CPFP, fleet manager, City of Yuma Fleet Services, Ariz.
"Reduction of aerosol use and substitution of “green” products for more hazardous/solvent products. Expanded recycling, e.g. fluorescent light tubes, waste oil, antifreeze, batteries, cores, scrap metal, and tires. Implemented environmental sustainability program and policy and car-share program."
—Millie Souders, division chief, division of fleet management, Rockville, Md.
"We use a full synthetic engine lubricant in all vehicles under 12,000 lbs. GVWR, contributing to natural resource conservation, reduction in overall pollution, and extension of oil drain intervals, reducing waste lubricant generation while maximizing specific component life and reducing overall wastestream product generation."
—Stephen DeCarlo, fleet and equipment maintenance supervisor, Township of Lower Merion, Pa.
"Implemented idling program requiring vehicle shut-off within 10 seconds of putting the vehicle in park; use of aluminum instead of metal on utility trucks to reduce weight and fuel consumption; and installation of roll-resistant tires on heavy-duty trucks to help increase fuel economy."
—Doug Weichman, cafm, director of fleet management, Palm Beach County, Fla.
"Placed outposts for minor repairs and preventive maintenance at decentralized locations, reducing driving distance to maintenance facilities and fuel used. Fleet also worked with Elgin Sweeper Company to increase the fuel tank size of Elgin’s new LNG sweepers from 65 gallons to 85, eliminating the need for sweeper drivers to return to the yard halfway through their route to refuel, as was necessary with the previous model. This step has contributed to labor reduction, fuel savings, and greenhouse gas reduction."
—Carlos Velasquez, former acting manager, Fleet Services Bureau, City of Long Beach, Calif.
Let Go of the Lead
"Replace all lead wheel weights in tires. Within one year, the Contra Costa County vehicle maintenance facility in Martinez, Calif., performs nearly 1,800 tire balancing services. Replacing lead weights with coated steel weights will effectively reduce the amount of lead in county fleet vehicles by 2,000 lbs. by 2012."
—Stan Burton, materials supervisor & Rick Ranger, fleet equipment specialist, Contra COSTA County, Calif.
"In 2008, Fleet Services eliminated the use of lead wheel weights in favor of steel weights. While slightly more expensive, the steel weights eliminate use of approximately 260 lbs. of replacement lead weights annually."
—Dan Berlenbach, fleet services manager, City of Oxnard, Calif.
How Green Are You?
The Environmental Defense Fund and NAFA Fleet Management Association have created the Fleet Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator as a tool to help fleet managers set emissions goals, track progress, and report results. Go to www.edf.org/greenfleet to benchmark your green status.
In the U.S., nearly 1/3 of carbon dioxide emissions comes from transportation, and 62 percent of that comes from cars
and light trucks.
For each gallon of gasoline burned, approximately 19.5 lbs. of carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the atmosphere.
Fleet vehicles are driven hard, averaging nearly double the mileage, fuel consumption, and emissions of personal vehicles. As a result, fleets are not only expensive to operate, but are also a major source of global warming pollution.