Fleet Services Moves to Sustainable Practices
Lane County Fleet Services Division is making sustainable choices now that will improve the livability of Lane County today and tomorrow.
Sustainability seeks to understand and balance current and long-term environmental, economic, and social objectives of our community. It is important that services and infrastructure are delivered in an environmentally and socially responsible way, with an eye on best use and investment of limited financial resources.
A key part of the Fleet Services Division sustainability plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. Last year, vehicles and equipment owned and operated by Lane County emitted 7,024 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. A recent switch (April 1) to the use of B5 biodiesel blend will result in a reduction of 3.9 percent in CO2 emissions over last year.
The Fleet Services Division has implemented a number of other sustainable business practices.
Biodiesel. Fleet uses B5 biodiesel. The primary factors for developing recommendations and guiding the decision making process on this issue have been environmental impact, cost, mechanical failures, warranty concerns, shelf life, reliability and temperature concerns. Based on the analysis of these factors, the current policy of B5 use is the most desirable choice. Fleet Services Division will continue to monitor this issue and implement changes as required. It is expected that as more equipment manufacturers warrant the use of B20 in their products that its use will become a more viable seasonal alternative contingent on pricing differential.
Vehicle Selection. Correct vehicle selection will ensure that the most efficient vehicle is selected to perform the duties required by the user. The Fleet Services Manager will discuss with the requesting manager the requirements to ensure that proper vehicle is purchased. Alternate fuel vehicles (hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), electric vehicles (EV) and E85 flex-fuel vehicles (FFV)) will be evaluated and procured when feasible. The County currently has 17 hybrid electric vehicles. It is also anticipated that expanded use of light duty diesel vehicles will result in increased fuel efficiency and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Diesel Retrofits. Lane County has received a $70,000.00 Clean Diesel Grant from DEQ issued under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This will enable the retrofitting of at least nine Waste Management Division vehicles with particulate reducing equipment. Test data from the selected vehicles is currently being analyzed to determine the most effective devices to be installed. These multi-stage filters will reduce particulate matter by up to 60 percent. Retrofitting of all vehicles is expected to be completed this summer.
Shop Practices. The fleet maintenance and parts sections have been proactive in instituting sustainable practices. The amount of Hazmat generated by shop operations has been reduced 50% by replacing solvent tanks with hot water parts cleaners and procuring green solvents for other applications. Preventive maintenance schedules have been increased from 5000 to 7500 miles for most vehicles, thus reducing the amount of waste products generated during service process. Used oil is used to heat the shop bays during the winter months and the remainder is recycled. Additionally, all antifreeze, oil filters, scrap metal, batteries, and tires are recycled. The light fixtures in the shop bays were switched from halogen to more efficient high-bay fluorescent lights that are operated on motion sensors to further reduce energy waste.
Idling Policy. This policy, adopted in 2007, prohibits idling for longer than 20 seconds or "topping off" fuel tanks in County vehicles. Stickers were placed on vehicle dashboards to remind operators to reduce idling time. These steps reduce fuel usage and prevent the release of harmful emissions.
Wheel Weights. Fleet Tire shop is currently in the process of switching from lead wheel weights to steel.
Committees. The Fleet Services Manager serves on the DEQ Low Carbon Fuel Advisory Committee that is developing a low carbon fuel standard as required under House Bill 2186. He also serves on the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Committee that has been formed to develop and implement best practices in placement of charging stations.
Landscaping. The high maintenance lawn at the Fleet Services shop at Delta has been replaced with an eco-lawn that does not require mowing or irrigation. Native Plants are also being planted that are adapted to the area and require little or no irrigation or maintenance once established. A rocky swale has been created in a swampy area that collects water, and wetlands plants have been placed there. This project will reduce landscaping labor and irrigation costs; will use no fertilizers or lawn chemicals and the water runoff will be cleaner due to the filtering effect of the swale.
Office Practices. We use 100% post consumer recycled paper in our copier
and fax machine. Whole sheets of scrap paper are turned into ¼ or ½ sheet glued edge note pads for free by a local print shop. Our paper shredder output is used for composting and mulching. We use refillable sharpies and pens, refillable mechanical pencils, or if you prefer, we have 100% recycled pencils. Recycled products or products with recycled content are purchased when available. There are recycling bins in our break room, and a compost bin in our kitchen garden. We use dishes and silverware instead of disposables in our kitchen. Instead of purchasing bottled water, there is a water filter installed on our kitchen sink . We salvage office supplies and furniture from other offices. We reuse the boxes our copier paper comes in, and we either reuse or sell the cardboard boxes that our office supplies come in. Our new copier/printer/fax/scanner is energy star rated. We print documents on both sides of the paper when possible, and reduce the margins on "non-professional" documents. We store and reuse binders, folders, interoffice envelopes, etc
Facility Energy Audit. During June of 2010, Two Lane Community College interns performed an energy audit for the Lane County Fleet Building to determine low-cost to no-cost energy savings measures (ECM's). Sara Jones and Devon Guyette worked together to find ways to save energy that are as simple as reprogramming equipment to turn off during the building's unoccupied hours. Another aspect of the energy audit involved locating and correcting operational problems in the building. An Energy Use Index (EUI) will also determine where energy is consumed and be used to compare the performance of the Fleet Building to other similar buildings. The differences highlight areas that may need improvements. Approximately 70% of commercial buildings in the United States operate below maximum potential for energy savings. Our interns applied their knowledge without a cost to taxpayers and we want to thank them for their service.
These practices are in keeping with industry-wide best practices and emphasize the responsible use of limited financial resources.
According to Fleet Services Manager Michael A. Johns, the Fleet Services Division will continue to research and implement environmentally sustainable and economically feasible solutions for Lane County’s transportation needs. These efforts will improve the environment today and for future generations.