Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is teaming up with Clean Energy Coalition to reduce the environmental impact of its fleet by about 15% and share information about alternative fuels and fuel-efficient driving habits with the 1.3 million visitors who visit the national park each year.
Sleeping Bear Dunes will deploy three Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric vehicles, two liquefied petroleum gas-fueled pick-up trucks, and four electric vehicle charging stations. The park will also implement a public awareness campaign to communicate fuel-efficient driving behaviors to park visitors and staff. These measures will reduce the environmental impact of the national park’s fleet and encourage visitors to reduce the environmental impact of their own vehicles.
Clean Energy Coalition and Sleeping Bear Dunes staff will review new materials developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and National Park Service before they are introduced to parks across the country. This “Green Rides Toolkit,” developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will support training and outreach programs to educate staff, concessioners, volunteers, and visitors about the benefits of alternative fuel vehicles, as well as idle reduction and other efficient driving habits.
“This project is an important step toward using alternative fuel technologies in our fleet and complements our plan to become a Climate Friendly Park by reducing our impact on the environment and operating more efficiently,” said National Lakeshore Superintendent Dusty Shultz. “Our new alternative fuel vehicles will emit fewer greenhouse gases, reducing air pollution and helping preserve the park’s natural environment.”
The partnership is made possible through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities National Parks Initiative, which was developed to demonstrate how technologies and expertise from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program can help complement the mission of the National Park Service, promoting the use and enjoyment of national parks while preserving natural and historic resources. Clean Energy Coalition manages three Clean Cities coalitions in Michigan: Ann Arbor, Detroit Area, and West Michigan.
Auburn Hills-based FEV Inc., a global engineering services leader, has agreed to participate in the ENERGY STAR® Challenge for the Industry in an effort to improve efficiency. The ENERGY STAR Challenge, initiated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asks partnering organizations to reduce energy consumption in their facilities by 10% or more over a five-year period.
FEV identified three distinct tiers for improvement in its efforts to meet the energy efficiency goals. The company also created an ENERGY STAR Team headed by president and CEO Gary Rogers. Once the decision was made to participate, a kick-off meeting was scheduled to discuss and agree on the background, goals, and FEV’s pattern of energy consumption.
Three-Tier Implementation Plan
Since the initial meeting, FEV has enacted numerous initiatives, engaging its employees to gain commitment to adjust behaviors and focus on energy conservation. FEV’s approach is cost-neutral and allows the company to save resources by simply altering daily work routines. Example initiatives cover a wide range of activities, and many are as simple as instilling the habit of turning off lights and projectors in conference rooms after meetings.
At the second tier, the challenge requires some modest investments. During the cold winter months, the FEV ENERGY STAR Team conducted several walk-through audits of the facility using an infrared camera to identify thermal leaks. These leaks were then promptly corrected, resulting in an increase in the building’s thermal efficiency.
The third level of the challenge requires that FEV implement capital-intensive facility improvements, resulting in long-term energy and cost savings. One task in this level involves replacing over 50 inefficient lighting fixtures with more energy efficient T8 lamps. Although this step represents a $20,000 cost line, the investment is recovered in energy savings in a little over a year. A newly installed intelligent building control system also allows FEV to remotely control all HVAC units, making it possible to program patterns for maximum energy savings without any impact on employee comfort level.
Best Practice: Empowering Employees
Successful implementation requires the participation of workers in the improvement. The ENERGY STAR Team is currently reviewing opportunities to expand the system and integrate additional functions to achieve even more savings. The company’s employees are encouraged to submit ideas and suggestions on ways the company can save energy and money to a special email account set up to track these suggestions. Employee comments are gathered, reviewed, and often implemented, and all of the participants are recognized for their involvement.
Six months after implementing the ENERGY STAR Challenge, and despite a particularly cold Michigan winter (compared to the 2011-2012 season), FEV recorded significant energy efficiency gains and cost savings.
The team will continue to meet the requirements of the challenge by embarking on new initiatives and reinforcing existing ones. FEV’s goal is to meet the challenge’s requirements well before the five-year deadline.
Wondering How to Implement Energy Efficiency Projects at Your Place of Work?
Clean Energy Coalition helps various entities work through the implementation process of clean energy and energy efficiency projects. Please contact Business Development Manager Matt Sandstrom for more information.
Question of the Month: Where can I find statistics, maps, and projections related to alternative fuels, advanced vehicles, and infrastructure?
Answer: The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Maps and Data website is a comprehensive resource for current and historical statistics related to alternative fuels and advanced vehicles. The site categorizes information into the following sections, or tabs: Vehicles, Fuels & Infrastructure, Laws & Incentives, Regulated Fleets, and Clean Cities. The Clean Cities tab was recently updated based on the results of the 2011 annual report. By scrolling down or filtering the list on the right panel for each tab, you can select relevant maps and charts. The gray download button in the upper-right corner of the figure viewing pane allows users to view the data in Excel spreadsheet format or copy the chart into a presentation or other document. Clicking on legend labels also adds or removes data from the chart for more specific comparisons. Lastly, the Maps and Data website includes links to relevant reports and data analyses from outside the AFDC.
In addition to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) statistics included on the AFDC Maps and Data website, EIA compiles information relating to alternative fuel and advanced vehicles on its Alternative Fuel Vehicle Data website. The site includes an overview of trends in the alternative transportation sector, which is updated on an annual basis, as well as interactive data tables with statistics about current and projected vehicles supplied, vehicles in use, and fuel consumption. Please note that the EIA data is published on a two year delay; 2011 information will be posted in April 2013.
Resources for Additional Transportation Statistics and Trend Data
Fuel Consumption and Production
EIA: Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (Early Release). Includes projections about alternative fuel and other energy use through 2040.
American Public Transportation Association: 2012 Public Transportation Fact Book. Based on Federal Transit Administration data, this book features public transit vehicle fuel consumption data for alternative fuels in the Energy and Environment section.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory: Transportation Energy Data Book. Tracks light-duty (Chapter 4), heavy-duty (Chapter 5), and alternative fuel and advanced technology (Chapter 6) vehicle trends. Note that much of the alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle data provided here is compiled from the EIA Alternative Fuel Vehicle Data cited above.
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration: Highway Statistics Series. Includes motor vehicle registration statistics and fees by state.
Hybridcars.com Dashboard. Provides monthly hybrid electric and plug-in electric vehicle sales data by vehicle model. Note that this is not a government resource but is typically regarded as reputable data.
AFDC: Alternative Fuel Price Report. Compares the prices of alternative and conventional fuels.
EIA: Weekly Retail Gasoline and Diesel Prices. Tracks retail prices for petroleum fuels on a weekly basis.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends. Reports average fuel economy of vehicles over time from 1975 through 2012.
Source: Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team, email@example.com, (800) 254-6735
Although it doesn’t quite seem like it yet here in Ann Arbor, it’s officially spring. The season of longer days, tulips, and bunnies is upon us, and April’s Product of the Month will help with another annual ritual – spring cleaning.
If you’re like a lot of people, you may find quite a few used batteries in the course of tidying up your home. They tend to accumulate everywhere – in junk drawers, toolboxes, and children’s toys, just to name a few. This Product of the Month, Veolia ES Battery Recycling Pail, helps safely dispose up to 15 lbs. of commonly used batteries, which aren’t included as part of most communities’ curbside recycling programs.
Simply toss old batteries into the pail. Once it’s full, put it into a box for shipping, use the prepaid shipping label, and call FedEx to arrange for them to pick-up the package. Your used batteries will be responsibly processed at a recycling facility.
Through April 30, use the coupon code APRNEWS10 and take 10% off all purchases at the Clean Energy Outlet online store – including this battery recycling system.
Every Clean Energy Outlet purchase benefits Clean Energy Coalition and supports the work we’re doing to promote clean energy and reduce the use of fossil fuels.
Clean Energy Coalition recently produced a video highlighting the use of propane, a clean-burning, high-energy fuel.
The video features an interview with ICOM North America CEO Ralph Perpetuini, who discusses the company’s long history of developing breakthrough technology to make vehicles cleaner.
ICOM North America’s systems are found in fleets across the country, including companies like Metro Cars, Menards, and Lake Michigan Mailers.
Want to see your organization featured in a video like this? Ask Matt Sandstrom about joining Clean Energy Coalition’s Community Partners program.
The public input process announced last year in Gov. Rick Snyder’s Special Message on Energy and the Environment is now underway with the launch of a new website for the Michigan Energy Office and public forums occurring throughout the state.
The information gathered online and at the public forums will help policymakers and the public take a comprehensive look at Michigan’s energy future. Gov. Snyder will rely on the results of this process when making his comprehensive recommendations regarding Michigan’s energy future in December 2013. This process will enable policymakers to implement new decisions about our energy framework that will enhance Michigan’s adaptability, reliability, affordability, and environment.
Attend a Public Forum
Seven public forums were scheduled for early 2013 – most have already been held, but two are occurring within the next few weeks.
Michigan Public Service Commission Chairman John D. Quackenbush and Michigan Energy Office Director Steve Bakkal – the officials charged by the governor with co-chairing and overseeing the public input process – host the events.
Voice Your Opinion Online
The revamped Michigan Energy Office website accepts public comments through April 25.
To assist the policymakers who will be making decisions, commenters are encouraged to submit factual questions, information, reports, and suggestions on what information is needed to make good energy decisions.
To help guide the process, co-chairs Quackenbush and Bakkal have developed a series of questions that asks for specific information about renewable energy, energy efficiency, and the regulatory structure for electricity, as well as other energy topics. To keep the focus on verifiable facts, commenters are asked to refrain from advocating or recommending a particular policy.
Take this opportunity to impact future energy policies – voice your opinion by attending a public forum or commenting online.
Michigan residents submitted videos commenting on the state’s road infrastructure, railways, bike paths, pedestrian paths, and stories of their commutes as part of Trans4M’s Lights, Camera, Transportation! video contest.
The organization is now sharing these transportation insights with the public and decision-makers. Visit the Trans4Mstory YouTube channel and join the transportation dialogue. Be sure to check out the videos submitted by Clean Energy Coalition:
Lights, Camera, Transportation! participants clearly share a vision for a well-connected transportation system that includes car, trucks, bikes, buses, and trains.
The Lights, Camera, Transportation! YouTube contest draws to a close on April 18. The organization whose videos have the most collective views will receive $1,000 toward any transportation initiative of their choice. Any elected official who comments on a video automatically adds 500 views to the affiliated organization’s collective view tally.
For more information about the contest, to see the contest rules and for information the videos, please visit the Transportation for Michigan website.
Celebrate our natural world at the annual Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival on Sunday, April 21, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Leslie Science & Nature Center. This free, family-friendly event features displays from 40 local environmental, non-profit, and governmental organizations; live animal demonstrations; hands-on activities; product and toy testing; live entertainment; green building and commuting technologies; energy topics; water awareness; sustainable agriculture; and more.
The host site, the Leslie Science & Nature Center, includes a host of natural areas for visitors to explore. Stop by the registration table and pick up your passport to guide you through the Earth Day activities. Scan a QR Code with your smartphone to carry the day’s schedule with you.
Entertainment highlights include:
The Leslie Science & Nature Center will offer birds of prey orientations throughout the event. Meet these healthy, non-releasable birds up-close and discover what makes them hunters of the sky. Visit naturalists David Clipner and Brian Cressman in the Critter House and meet some amazing animals during their engaging and dynamic animal presentations.
The Scrap Box will host a marvelous Earth Day crafting opportunity in the Nature House. Free face painting will be provided by Touchstone Cohousing, and an amazing Bountiful Bubbles station will feature bubble play and exploration, with spontaneous bubble storms and gigantic bubble demonstrations. Meet Dave Konkle, inventor of the wind-powered Whirlydoodle, as he prepares applesauce in a solar cooker.
Tour the Project Grow Discovery Garden and Compost Education Center, or take a guided hike to Black Pond and check the water level in this Vernal Pond.
The Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health will provide an opportunity to test toys and other home products for toxic chemicals, while the Leslie Office staff will accept select toner cartridges and small electronics for recycling, as detailed on the website.
Earth Day admission is FREE due to generous sponsorship from the City of Ann Arbor, Clean Energy Coalition, the Leslie Science & Nature Center, Dollar Bill Copying, NSF International, and Big George’s.
Delicious on-site concessions and refreshments will be available from vendors including Pilar’s Tamales and Silvio’s Organic Pizza. In the true spirit of Earth Day – this year’s festival will again be a Zero Waste event, with help from Recycle Ann Arbor and their grant from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.
The Earth Day event is planned by an umbrella organization: The Environmental Education Network of Washtenaw (EENOW). EENOW includes The City of Ann Arbor, Ecology Center, Recycle Ann Arbor, Leslie Science & Nature Center, Clean Energy Coalition, NSF International, Washtenaw Community College, and the Scrap Box. Additionally, adult, student, and scout volunteers staff this beloved community event. If you are an individual or group interested in volunteering, please sign up through the volunteer link at www.a2earthday.org.
Clean Energy Coalition Project Manager Mark Rabinsky will appear on the next edition of WEMU’s Issues of the Environment, airing Wednesday, March 20 at 8:20 a.m.
Mark discusses electric vehicles and Plug-In Ready Michigan, a statewide plan that provides the necessary information and tools to planners, local officials, consumers, and private enterprises to prepare for an increase in plug-in electric vehicle use.
In southeast Michigan, tune in to 89.1 FM Wednesday morning. The show will also be available on WEMU’s website following the broadcast.
Ann Arbor, one of the nation’s most bike-friendly cities, is on the verge of becoming the first municipality in Michigan to launch a bike sharing program.
Clean Energy Coalition is bringing together a group of stakeholders – the University of Michigan, the City of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, and the Ann Arbor Transit Authority – to create a bike sharing network serving downtown Ann Arbor and UM’s campus.
Bike sharing programs offer easy-to-use bicycle rental opportunities for short distance trips around town. A network of stations allow riders to make easy one-way trips to and from popular destinations around town. (For more information about how bike sharing works, read our Understanding Bike Sharing article.)
The availability of bicycle rentals in key downtown and campus locations will provide many benefits to residents and visitors. Bike sharing will connect riders with Ann Arbor’s public transportation and existing non-motorized network. The program also provides environmentally friendly transportation, supporting the goals of the city’s Climate Action Plan.
Bike sharing programs have been popular in European cities for several decades and are just now gaining traction in the United States. Minneapolis, Madison, Boulder, and Washington, DC have established bike sharing within the last couple of years, and dozens of other U.S. cities are preparing to launch programs.
Grace Singleton, Managing Partner at Zingerman’s Deli, believes Ann Arbor is the perfect location for bike share program. She says, “I’m very excited about the possibility of bike sharing coming to downtown Ann Arbor. Zingerman’s staff will benefit by being able to use the bikes to run quick errands during the day. I think it is a major tourist benefit, it rounds out the day-to-day transportation needs for the city, and helps put Ann Arbor on the map as one of the first cities of our size to get a bike share program.”
Clean Energy Coalition and our project partners are in the process of selecting a bike sharing vendor and securing the remaining funds necessary to run the program. We expect to receive $600,000 in Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds for bike sharing equipment, and the University of Michigan has pledged $600,000 over three years for operations.
Clean Energy Coalition is working to secure additional funds from project partners and raise about $200,000 in sponsorships and community donations.
For information about sponsorship or donation opportunities, contact Matt Sandstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Ann Arbor bike sharing, contact Program Supervisor Heather Seyfarth at email@example.com.