The University of San Diego (UCSD) Fleet Services ranked 22nd in the Seventh Annual Government Green Fleet Awards, a competition of environmentally friendly vehicle-fleet operations that is open to all federal, state and local governments in North America. According to Rex Graham of UCSD, UCSD takes great pride in its green fleet, and looks forward to further reducing its fleet emissions and overall carbon footprint. UC San Diego’s Fleet Services ranked 22nd UC Davis’ vehicle fleet ranked fourth. The two UC campuses were the only college campuses ranked. The city of San Diego’s vehicle fleet ranked 19th.
A panel of judges based the ranking on performance in seven categories:
- The degree to which fleets are made up of hybrid, electric, and alternative-fuel vehicles.
- Use of renewable fuels.
- Planning that includes budgeting for future additions of green technologies.
- Use of vehicles that are appropriately sized for the required tasks.
- A high degree of utilization of all vehicles in the fleet.
- Executive and employee involvement in implementation of improved green technologies.
- Support programs such as recycling, applying for grants and maintenance-facility improvements.
According to Jim Ruby, UC San Diego fleet manager, “We want to be in the top 10 next year. As we retire older vehicles, we’re replacing many of them with electric, hybrid, and compressed natural gas vehicles. We believe our fleet stood out because of its extensive lineup of electric, hybrid vehicles and biodiesel fuels, and our California-certified Model Pollution Prevention auto repair shop, among other factors.”
Through various alt-fuel options and sustainable operations practices, UCSD has been taking big steps in developing a Green Fleet. UCSD’s Fleet Services manages about 900 vehicles, including:
- Over 150 passenger vans and sedans
- 142 rechargeable neighborhood electric vehicle carts and 153 rechargeable electric utility carts.
- 30 shuttle buses, all of which burn B-20 fuel.
Alternative transportation programs include:
- Triton Bikes, which lends abandoned bicycles that have been refurbished for free use by on-campus commuters.
- Commute Solutions, a comprehensive UC San Diego program that has helped to reduce single-occupant-vehicle use from 66 percent in 2001 to 44 percent in 2010 by promoting public transportation, carpools, the Zimride route-matching service to promote more carpooling, vanpools and other alternative transportation options.
Since 2005, the campus has used over 700,000 gallons of biodiesel, reducing its net emissions of carbon dioxide by more than 2.2 million lbs. Campus diesel-burning vehicles also are equipped with high-efficiency particulate traps that reduce the emission of this class of toxic air contaminants by 86 percent.
Melanie Zauscher, a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, helped the University to secure the donation of a diesel engine bus from Caterpillar, Inc. that runs on B-99. The B-99 Bus Program is known as the Greenline shuttle. It started operating in 2009 and now is part of a fleet of 30 additional shuttle buses that burn B-20 fuel.
The UC San Diego fleet repair shop uses a parts cleaner that has grease-eating microbes to clean oil and sludge adhering to vehicle parts. The shop also retreads bus tires, saving thousands of gallons of petroleum products that would have been used in new tires.
Fleet Services also uses recycled or re-refined oil in nearly all of its vehicles. Since 2004, UC San Diego has used more than 8,500 gallons of recycled oil that had been re-refined from waste motor oil. Use of such re-refined oil is important because two gallons of waste motor oil can be converted into five quarts of fresh oil for use in vehicles. On the other hand, 84 gallons of crude are required to make five quarts of virgin motor oil.
The entire university has become a living laboratory for sustainable solutions and there is a certain amount of pride that come with those sort of accomplishments. Students, interns, teachers, fleet managers, and volunteers all contribute to UCSD’s many sustainability programs. Kudos to UCSD! Go Tritons!