Sunday, October 30, 2011

Clean Green Moving Machines

So Rutgers signs this big contract, right? But have they acted on it? Well, it turns out that they have.

In July of 2011, students at Rutgers began riding new buses. Some people were angry about it, namely Academy Bus, Rutgers' old bus service. But the EPA were probably really proud. You see, according to one of the stipulations in the Memorandum of Understanding, Rutgers agreed to take part in the EPA's National Clean Diesel campaign. Academy Bus lost the bid to Rutgers' new bus service, First Transit, who took over operations at the university in July.

The National Clean Diesel Campaign demands that Rutgers "cooperatively promote and implement measures to effectively reduce emissions from vehicles". By switching from Academy Bus to First Transit, Rutgers' was able to meet this standard of the MOU. First Transit provides Rutgers with 50 buses that run on 20% biodiesel fuel. Biodiesel is diesel fuel that has been mixed with an organic substance. It burns cleaner than conventional fuel, and because it is mixed with organic products, such as kitchen wastes, it is also more renewable and cost-efficient than conventional diesel. According to the MOU, "Rutgers University will consider converting kitchen waste to bio-diesel fuel for use on campus."

Another emissions saver that Rutgers adopted recently is the CNG Program. Rutgers has now got six nifty cars and two nifty pickup trucks that operate at it's facilities using compressed natural gas, or CNG. CNG vehicles are much cleaner burning than conventional vehicles. Their emissions are even lower than hybrid cars.
Rutgers has it's own filling stations for these vehicles on campus and plans to expand the program in the future.

Rutgers has also initiated a pilot bike rental program. The program encourages students to rent one of the 150 bikes available at the university at 10$ a month or 25$ for the full semester. The program is designed to reduce emissions from students who would otherwise commute to classes.

The Clean Diesel Campaign also asks that Rutgers promote an anti-idling policy. Rutgers encourages faculty, staff, students, and it's transportation services (including First Transit) not to idle. They did so with a no idling policy, requiring that vehicles not remain on for more than 90 seconds while parked.

While certainly there are more stipulations that Rutgers can meet to adhere to the Clean Diesel Campaign, it seems that they have wasted no time in the past two years adopting the changes suggested in the MOU by the EPA.


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