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Environmental Compliance & Sustainability Department

Metro’s Environmental Compliance & Sustainability Department (ECSD) is focused on minimizing the environmental, social, and financial impacts from the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the agency’s facilities and operations, as well as procurement of its products and services.

The ECSD team is dedicated to the implementation of projects related to energy conservation, efficient water use, recycling, waste minimization, improved fueling operations, vehicle emissions reduction and more by considering the cost-effectiveness and life cycle of impacted products, activities, and projects.


ECSD has established a comprehensive measuring and reporting process for Metro’s environmental related efforts and activities. Since 2009, we have published an annual Sustainability Report with information on the agency’s sustainability progress.

Air Quality

  • Green Construction Policy : Adopted in August 2011 to reduce harmful emissions from construction equipment used in building transportation projects.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Toxic Air Emissions Reduction: We are working with other Metro stakeholders to track GHG and toxic air emissions, develop and implement innovative technologies, and ensure equipment compliance with existing regulations while generating carbon credits for future carbon market transactions. We also work with Metro Corporate safety in ensuring air quality and hazardous materials emissions compliance for all Metro facilities and equipment.

Water

  • Efficiency Projects: Water saving activities reduce water consumption by nearly 7 million gallons a year.
  • Divisions 9 & 18: Recycled water systems have been established through the installation of steam bays.
  • Division 3: A reclaimed water line was installed to channel reclaimed water back into the LADWP main water line.
  • Water Action Plan : Adopted by the Board in 2010 to analyze water use trends at Metro facilities and better understand the relationship between current practices, equipment and water use.
  • Drought Awareness Board Motion: Please see the Water Resources tab for water consumption infographics at our major facilities.

Energy

Alternative Energy

  • Renewable Energy Policy : Outlines a goal for the agency to use at least 33% renewable energy by 2020.
  • Solar Panel Installation: Metro has more than 2.86 MW solar power generation capabilities at our facilities, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in electricity costs. The agency’s Services Support Center solar installation is the largest solar panel installation at a transit agency in the U.S.
  • Renewable Resource Exploration : We are committed to exploring emerging technologies such as Wayside Energy Storage Substations to capture braking energy from trains and wind turbines to capture wind energy for use in subway tunnels.
  • Lighting Retrofits : In 2017, Metro began upgrading the lighting systems at many of its parking lots and structures, retrofitting nearly 1,000 light fixtures with LEDs and installing daylight harvesting and occupancy sensors to improve lighting conditions and patron safety.
  • Energy Conservation & Management Plan : Adopted by the Board in 2011 to guide energy use for Metro in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
  • Electric Vehicles Project : We are installing Electric Vehicle chargers at five of our park and ride lots across the County.

Waste

  • Desk Side Recycling: Implemented in 2009 to increase the agency’s recycling efforts. In 2011, 41% of solid waste was diverted to recycling.
  • Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling & Reuse Policy : Passed in 2007 and requires Metro to give preference to recyclable/recycled materials used in construction when feasible. Metro will only use landfills/recycling facilities that comply with federal, state and local regulations.

Climate Response

In order to ensure that Metro's bus and rail service operate consistently and reliably, ECSD is preparing the agency for severe weather events and potential future climate changes in the Los Angeles area. The climate program currently addresses three key avenues to reduce Metro’s environmental impact:

1. Mitigation: Taking actions to reduce the long-term impacts and stressors from climate change.

The most prevalent approach for climate change mitigation is greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. On behalf of Metro, ECSD inventories GHG emissions resulting from operations and is working to reduce these emissions.

  • GHG Accounting: ECSD calculates the annual GHG emissions created by Metro’s operations. This has helped us target strategies for further reducing emissions.
  • Biomethane Implementation Plan : Metro currently operates the largest alternatively fueld fleet in the nation and is committed to explore ways to go beyond compressed natural gas (CNG) to reduce carbon intensity and GHG emissions.
  • GHG Emissions Cost Effectiveness Study : Completed in 2010, this study explores the costs and impacts of strategies to reduce agency emissions.

2. Adaptation: Taking actions to manage the eventual (or unavoidable) impacts or stressors of climate change.

  • Climate Action & Adaptation Plan : Adopted in 2012, the CAAP provides Metro with mitigation and adaptation strategies for operating in a changing environment. An update to the CAAP is currently in progress for release in 2019.
  • FTA Climate Adaptation Pilot : ECSD concluded its study as one of five public transportation agencies involved in a FTA Pilot Program to implement and operationalize climate adaptation at the agency.

3. Resiliency: The ability of a system to respond to threats and changing conditions by resisting damage, recovering quickly and continuing to provide its essential services.

Many major components of this work are already an essential part of the agency’s operations:

  1. Continually examining Metro’s system
  2. Setting priorities for maintenance
  3. Evaluating new purchases to supplement Metro’s bus and rail fleet
    • Resiliency Indicator Framework : The indicators are designed to provide a mechanism through which Metro can measure and prioritize the necessary actions to ensure that our assets and networks are resilient in the face of climate change and the evolving frequency of extreme weather events.

These are all elements that impact how well the agency can respond to changing conditions, and recover quickly to continue to provide its core services. Currently, Metro is exploring the use of metrics to evaluate its level of resiliency, as well as actions it can take to better prepare for future changes.


ECSD is the agency authority on issues related to water quality and usage, fuel, energy, and waste. The department actively works to minimize potential environmental impacts resulting from the planning, construction and operation of one of the largest and fastest growing transportation systems in the nation.

  • Environmental Management System: Metro’s Red and Purple Line rail yard recently became the first major rail maintenance facility in the nation to receive ISO 14001 Certification for its environmental management system (EMS) and has since been implemented agency-wide.
  • Energy Efficient Buildings: Eleven buildings have been certified to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver or higher including Metro headquarters and several transportation and maintenance buildings. We have committed to build all new buildings over 10,000 square feet to LEED Silver standard or higher into the future.
  • Sustainability/Environmental Training: ECSD develops environmental and sustainability training for Metro employees through the Environmental Training Institute (ETI) and for our community through the Growing a Greener Workforce Program .
  • Storm Water and Industrial Wastewater: ECSD oversees the development of Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP) and, as required, Standard Urban Stormwater Mitigation Plans (SUSMP) for facilities, construction sites, storage areas, and all Metro property. We prepare and maintain all stormwater and industrial wastewater permits agency-wide.
  • Site Remediation: ECSD provides site remediation support for Metro owned properties including:
    • Groundwater Contamination/Remediation
    • Soil Remediation/Removal
    • Lead/Asbestos Analysis and Abatement
  • Green Construction Initiative : Metro is committed to using greener, less polluting construction equipment and vehicles, and will implement best practices to reduce harmful emissions in all construction projects performed on Metro properties and rights-of-way . We are assisting the region to consider the use of such types of equipment by providing important and relevant green construction equipment-related information .
  • Contractor's Sustainability Plan Guidance Manual : In 2018, ECSD created a new reference document to assist contractors in documenting how they are fulfilling their compliance obligations associated with CalGreen. The Sustainability Plan program also collects evidence to highlight  areas where contractors bringing the best innovative, sustainable practices to Metro projects.
  • Metro's Environmental Construction Awareness (MECA) Project : In 2018, ECSD launched a new website of resources and information to assist SBE/DBE contractors in developing robust project proposals that meet environmental requirements and expectations.

Metro has been on the forefront of water reduction efforts for more than a decade. Since 2003, we’ve implemented many strategies across our agency to reduce water use in our operations and construction activities, most extensively along the Orange Line and Orange Line Extension.

Since 2015, Metro has been conducting comprehensive surveys of all facilities and rights-of-way to identify water efficiency opportunities and implementing pilot projects to measure the reduction potential of various conservation strategies.

Since 2012, water use has decreased nearly 29%. In 2017, Metro used 2.11 gallons of water per VRM, which equates to a reduction of nearly 7 million gallons when compared to 2015.


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