We know that taking public transportation is a great way to go green. But what you may not know is that Metro has a number of initiatives in the works that will make the agency even greener…which will make it easier for you to be green.
Metro’s current transit network and infrastructure requires approximately $70 million per year in energy costs to keep everything running. This includes electric and natural gas energy for facility operations and fuel. Energy needs will exponentially increase over the next few years as the system expands and costs are anticipated to increase to about $120 million per year once Expo Phase II, the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension open.
To reduce the fiscal impact of these expansions on the overall energy demand, Metro has been actively looking at ways to be more energy efficient. On the renewable energy front, Metro is currently developing flywheel technology energy projects at the Red/Purple Line Westlake-McArthur Park Station and near the Gold Line Avenue 61 location. The flywheel energy storage system is able to capture energy regenerated by trains as they brake into a station. Metro is also increasing solar panel installations to include the new bus Division 13, which is scheduled for completion in 2015. Collectively, these projects will contribute to the agency’s goal of 33 percent renewable energy use by 2020.
Metro was recently awarded the Alliance to Save Energy’s most prestigious award for its Energy Management and Renewable Energy Program. These efforts are being continued as Metro is installing more energy efficient lighting and water conserving fixtures in its buildings and facilities.
Metro is also examining the use of biomethane in its bus fleet. Biomethane is natural gas that comes from landfills, dairy operations and waste water treatment plants rather than extracted from the Earth in typical drilling operations. The use of biomethane can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of Metro’s bus operations with no additional infrastructure cost.
Metro has recognized the growing popularity and importance of integrating zero emissions vehicles as a potential first and last mile solution. Through a California Energy Commission (CEC) grant, Metro has installed twenty electric vehicle (EV) chargers through a pilot project at five of its outlying stations: Sierra Madre Villa Staion, Willow Station, El Segundo Station, Universal City Station, and Union Station. As the first transit agency in the country to operate EV chargers, Metro has proactively integrated EV into its transit network, potentially further reducing the typical EV driver’s carbon footprint as they travel towards their ultimate destinations.
Earlier this month, the CEC announced Metro’s selection as one of the recipients of its next round of EV charging network funding. The goal of this funding is to further increase the use of electric vehicles at destination sites, especially near disadvantaged communities. The new project will at least double Metro’s EV charger network. EV chargers are also scheduled to be installed at the Gold Line Foothill Extension and Expo Phase II projects.
Construction funded by Measure R will at least double the system’s rail miles as well as the number of rail stations, and it will enhance the roadway network. Recent revamp of Metro’s design criteria and construction specifications ensure the sustainable construction and operations of these new systems. Enhanced multi-mobility hubs, reuse and recycle of materials, energy efficient systems, green construction equipment requirements, climate change management and resiliency features are only a few of the new considerations to be incorporated into the new major capital projects. The Crenshaw/LAX Line will be the first major capital project to see the implementation of these new requirements. The Crenshaw/LAX Line will become the standard for how Metro’s future projects will be built and maintained.
In partnership with other institutions across the state and the county (L.A. Department of Water and Power, Southern California Edison, The Gas Company, CEC, South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the FTA), Metro continues to make headway in reducing costs and creating greater efficiency within the organization. Additional information on these and other related Metro efforts can be found here.