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MBTA Hybrid Bus

MBTA Hybrid Bus

The MBTA’s environmental planning effort has reduced energy and water usage, and made the T a leader in the use of alternative energy and efforts to reduce environmental impacts and increase operating efficiency. An update on the policy was presented before the MBTA Fiscal & Management Control Board.

Environmental & Sustainability Management System (ESMS) is a comprehensive environmental compliance program. In addition, the sustainability program is designed to reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. It emphasizes resource conservation, clean vehicles, sustainable design, and climate change adaptation and resiliency.

The MBTA is taking the impacts of global climate change into account in infrastructure planning by conducting vulnerability assessments to identify critical resources and prioritize projects that reduce the risk of disruptions from natural disasters, and invest in cost-effective measures that assist in post disaster recovery. Extreme weather conditions are expected to grow more severe over time and become more frequent.

Climate change is now reflected in standards for design and construction projects. New climate change resiliency projects include the Fenway Portal Project and the Charlestown Seawall. The Fenway project raised a retaining wall and installed watertight barriers at the MBTA’s Green Line Fenway Portal to reduce flooding, and repaired and improved a deteriorated seawall.

Total water and sewer consumption by the MBTA went from 160 million gallons in Fiscal Year 2013 to a high of 152 million gallons in Fiscal Year 2014, then down to 152 million gallons in Fiscal Year 2015, and is projected to drop to 105 million gallons in Fiscal Year 2016*. Much of these savings were achieved through operational measures: making sure water systems (particularly bus and rail washing systems) were prevented from excessive idling; and making sure settings on the water valves are set properly.

Earlier this month, the MBTA announced that it projects a 12.8 percent reduction in energy costs for the 2017 Fiscal Year, and expects to see additional savings during the next three years.
Since 2012, the T has invested $2.28 million in energy-reduction programs, which have resulted in an annual $1.75 million in savings – $3.75 million to date. Additional projects are projected to save $5 to $6 million annually.

The T’s transit fleet is consuming less fuel and running on cleaner vehicles thanks to:
• New hybrid buses that are 20 percent more fuel efficient
• New locomotives that meet stricter EPA standards
• New Orange and Red Line vehicles that are more energy efficient

Expanding the use of solar power and wind turbines have also contributed to the MBTA’s environmental policies. In January 2012, the MBTA commissioned its first wind turbine generator at the Kingston Layover Facility. The Kingston Commuter Rail Layover Facility wind turbine project will produce electrical output from a 100 kW turbine, an effective match for this facility’s estimated annual electric load of 255,000 kilowatt hours per year. The 750 kilowatt turbine to be built along the commuter rail right of way in Bridgewater will generate power that, unlike Kingston, will not be used on site but will be sold back to the regional electrical grid. Both turbines were funded using primarily Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds coming from the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reductions (TIGGER), as well as a grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).

An example of new sustainable design standards in action can be found at the Hingham Ferry Terminal, which has a green roof, geothermal heat exchange system, high energy efficient lighting and maximizes the use of natural light, water smart landscaping, and use of low toxic paints and sealants.

As one of New England’s single-largest consumers of electricity, the MBTA recognizes the impact of its energy practices on the region.

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