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Metro Sustainability

Metro is dedicated to the sustainability of LA County’s people, environment, and economy.

Our commitment means we plan, partner, design, build, operate and maintain transit infrastructure to meet our current needs without compromising the future needs of LA. We continually integrate the principles of sustainability in all aspects of decision making and execution. This includes seeking out and implementing innovative solutions to improve air quality, protect natural resources, reduce waste and create connected communities.

Our sustainability commitment is reflected in Metro’s Sustainability Mission and Vision statements, which support the Agency’s Metro Vision 2028 Strategic Plan :


We will provide leadership in sustainability within the LA region without compromising our core mission of moving people efficiently and effectively.


We will be the leader in maximizing sustainability efforts and its benefits to LA County's people, finances and environment.

See below for a timeline of key sustainability program milestones and accomplishments:

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Planning for Sustainability

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Metro is transforming LA County through a regional commitment to environmental sustainably and climate-safe infrastructure. Metro infrastructure and assets are planned and designed with changes to climate and stewardship of natural resources in mind.

Planning for sustainability includes coordination and support between the environmental, planning and engineering departments through many phases of project development including processes related to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), resulting in project-specific Environmental Impact Reports (EIR), Environmental Impact Studies (EIS) and exceptions to these requirements. For access to these and related documents, contact the Metro Library .


Countywide Sustainability Planning Policy:
In 2012, Metro policy demonstrates a continued commitment to sustainability as a core business value and as a strategy for enhancing the quality, efficiency and value of the transportation system through integration of sustainability in planning functions, and development of partnerships.

Energy and Sustainability Policy:
In 2007, Metro policy established policy to control energy consumption and embrace energy efficiency, energy conservation, and sustainability.

Environmental Policy:
In 2009, Metro established an on-going commitment to provide multi-modal public transit services that greatly improve the quality of the environment in the communities it serves; and its commitment to planning and constructing projects, operating and maintaining facilities and vehicles, and procuring products and services in a manner that protects human health and the environment. This policy provides guidance in committing to the use of the ISO 14001:2004 standard as a sustainability management tool.

Renewable Energy Policy:
In 2011, Metro policy established 33% of facility-wide energy use would be powered by renewable energy by 2020. This policy has driven action and as of 2017 Metro reached 30% of its goal. Most of Metro’s new major facilities are designed to include solar generation including the El Monte Transit Terminal (89kW), Division 13 (271 kW) and Location 64.


Metro establishes agency wide sustainability goals, targets and strategies for the next 10 years in this update and significant expansion to the 2008 Metro Sustainability Implementation Plan (MSIP). The Plan will include energy, water, emissions and pollution control, materials and construction/operations, climate adaptation and resiliency, livable neighborhoods, equity, and economic and workforce development goals. The revised plan is expected in 2019.

Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (2019):
The 2019 CAAP outlines how Metro is both fighting climate change and preparing for a changing climate.

Energy Conservation and Management Plan:
In 2011, the Metro Board adopted this plan to guide energy use in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

Orange Line Corridor Implementation Plan:
In 2012, the Metro Board identified a range of improvements to the Orange Line and the fourteen station areas on its original alignment that will increase transit use for commuters and discretionary riders, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and advance Metro’s sustainable development principles.

Sustainable Rail Plan:
In 2013, a combination of qualitative and quantitative discussions regarding the feasibility, cost and energy reduction potential of various strategies to enhance the sustainability of Metro’s rail system.

Water Action Plan (2010):
Metro Board adopted the Water Action Plan to better understand the relationship between current practices, equipment and water use.


Metro Sustainability Program:
The Sustainability Program guides the design and construction of world-class projects by incorporating sustainable elements and CALGreen requirements into the design and construction process for Metro capital projects.

Green Certifications:
Metro builds to the highest sustainability standards with all projects larger than 10,000 square feet designed to LEED silver or higher . The following Metro projects have obtained Envision Platinum Certification: Expo Line, Section II and Purple Line Extension, Section 1 .

Climate Program :
Metro plans and designs infrastructure and assets with changes to climate and stewardship of natural resources in mind. Metro is both fighting climate change and preparing for a changing climate with resources in the areas of mitigation and resiliency.


Active Transportation Strategic Plan (ATSP):
Adopted May 26, 2016, ATSP is Metro's countywide effort to identify strategies to increase walking, bicycling and transit use in Los Angeles County. The ATSP proposes a regional network of active transportation facilities, including shared-use paths and on-street bikeways.

In order to reduce Metro’s carbon footprint and ensure that bus and rail services operate consistently and reliably, Metro looks for ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions and prepare the Agency and our riders for severe weather events and potential changes to local climate. The climate program currently addresses two key avenues for climate change response: climate mitigation and resiliency.

Complete Streets:
A comprehensive, integrated transportation network with infrastructure and design that allow safe and convenient travel along and across streets for all users, including pedestrians, public transit riders and bicyclists. Over 700 jurisdictions throughout the United States have adopted Complete Streets policies.

First Last Mile Strategic Plan:
identifies how Metro and its partners can improve access and connections to public transit. The goal is to better coordinate infrastructure investments in station areas to extend the reach of transit, and ultimately increase ridership.

Sustainability Council

Response to a Metro Board directive, the Sustainability Council supports Metro’s sustainability program by advising and providing recommendations on matters such as policies, operations, construction, and maintenance processes that further Metro’s goal of delivering a sustainable transit system to LA County.

The Council is composed of 30 voting members representing a range of sectors and stakeholder groups with expertise in sustainability and transportation. [more]

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Metro is committed to building climate-safe infrastructure while minimizing negative impacts to the environment during the construction process.


Metro integrates innovative sustainability strategies throughout project planning, design and construction to mitigate the negative impacts of our capital program on the environment.

Indicators of Sustainable Building

Energy Efficient Buildings:
Metro has committed to build all new buildings over 10,000 square feet to LEED Silver standard or higher.

LEED Certification:
To date, 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.

The following Metro facilities have achieved recognition as LEED silver or better:

Facility Certification Level Year / Status
Division 14 NC Gold 2017
Division 24 NC Silver 2016
Division 7 Campus EBOM Silver 2015
Division 10 Campus EBOM Silver 2014
Division 3 Maintenance Annex NC Gold 2010
Union Station Gateway EBOM Gold 2010
El Monte Station NC Gold 2009
Division 13 NC Gold 2009
Division 3 Maintenance Building NC Certified 2008
Division 9 Transportation Building NC Gold 2008
CMF Building 6 NC Gold 2007

The following projects are in the process of achieving LEED certification:

Facility Certification Level Year / Status
Location 64 NC Silver 2019 – under construction
Division 16 Southwest Yard NC TBD 2019 – under construction
Emergency Security Operations Center (ESOC) NC TBD In design
Airport Metro Connetor 96 th Street Station NC Silver In design
Willowbrook / Rosa Parks Station – Security hub NC TBD 2020 – under construction
Willowbrook / Rosa Parks Station – Bike hub NC TBD 2020 – under construction

Envision: Expo Line, Section II and Purple Line Extension, Section 1 are the first Metro projects to achieve Envision certification.  With the focus on planning and process from design stage through operations and maintenance, there is much in this system that helps Metro consider the best sustainability practices throughout the life of our projects. To learn more about Envision, take classes, offered here at Metro.

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 Policy:
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. Data collected through this program are reported to the Metro Board annually.

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.

Guiding Our Decision Making

Environmental Policy:
In 2009, Metro established an on-going commitment to provide multi-modal public transit services that greatly improve the quality of the environment in the communities it serves; and its commitment to planning and constructing projects, operating and maintaining facilities and vehicles, and procuring products and services in a manner that protects human health and the environment.

Green Construction Policy:
In 2011, Metro provided requirements for 1) identifying and mitigating air emission impacts on human health, environment, and climate of on-road and off-road construction equipment and generators used in our construction and development activities; 2) implementing appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPs) to complement equipment mitigations; and 3) implementing strategies to ensure compliance with this policy.

Environmental Liabilities Assessment and Reporting Program:
In 2009, policy established a coordinated and integrated framework for determining Metro’s known and potential environmental liabilities. The reporting protocol under this program ensures Metro’s continued compliance with financial reporting standards, reduces current environmental liabilities and reduces the probability of similar liabilities occurring in the future.

Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling and Reuse Policy:
In 2007, Metro committed to implement consistent criteria and procedures on the use of recyclable and recycled products and materials on capital projects.


While Metro builds the next LA, we also believe in conserving and preserving the past and LA’s unique natural ecosystem.


See Metro’s featured projects and programs .


Metro has developed resources and tools to provide our contracting community technical assistance and training on our building program requirements.

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Metro integrates sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices, such as emissions and water use reductions, into the operations and maintenance of facilities and transportation systems. Lessons learned from operations and maintenance inform the planning, designing and building of future projects.

How we are doing:
Metro’s Sustainability Indicators were derived from the Recommended Practice for Qualifying and Reporting Transit Sustainability metrics, prepared by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Standards for Metrics Working Group. Metro 2017 Performance Indicators:

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See the Energy and Resources Report for more information.

Air Quality

Air quality is directly correlated to public health. Every effort we make in operations to minimize impacts to or improve air quality take us one step closer to creating a more sustainable LA.  The Motion Endorsing GHG Reduction Targets guides program prioritization and decision-making. Some air quality initiatives include:

  • Electric Vehicle Program:

    Metro is the first transit agency in the nation to integrate EV charging stations at its park-and-ride lots and the program is expanding. Metro is also moving its non-revenue fleet to electric vehicles .
  • Photovoltaic (PV) projects:

    Metro is committed to generating clean energy to build resilient energy systems. Current facilities with PV panels include SIX (6) bus and rail divisions and El Monte Station. Plans are in development for four (4) additional divisions.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Toxic Air Emissions Reduction:

Metro stakeholders 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.

Climate change:

Metro expects there to be more high heat days and more severe fires and storms in the future. These events will impact transportation if plans are not put in place now. The Climate Adaptation Action Plan (CAAP) and Resiliency Indicator Framework (2015) guide Metro’s work in mitigation, adaptation and resiliency. Both documents are being revised in 2019.

Air Quality – Performance outcomes and trends

Criteria Air Pollutant Emissions:

The criteria air pollutant emissions metric measures tailpipe emissions from Metro’s bus fleet and support vehicles. The major criteria air pollutants are hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM):

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

Metro’s greenhouse gas emissions, measured in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), have been steadily declining since 2007 when Metro performed its first emissions inventory. Much of the decrease can be attributed to declining energy emissions factors as the share of renewable energy on the grid increases.

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Total GHG emissions:

The largest source of emissions for the agency is vehicle fuel (75%). Accordingly, Metro’s bus service is the largest source of emissions by mode (65%).  Since 2012, emissions resulting from building energy use have decreased by 23%.

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Greenhouse Gas Displacement:

Perhaps the best sustainability indicator of an effective public transit system is greenhouse gas displacement. This occurs primarily through mode-shift or taking cars off the road. Metro consistently displaces more emissions than it produces.

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Metro’s long-term goal is to manage overhead costs by controlling energy pricing using a variety of options, including but not limited to Community Choice Aggregates (CCA), Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), microgrids, and renewables.

Metro is looking at all opportunities to control costs and protect assets through a variety of programs:

  • Energy Costs – Controlling short-term energy rates driven by demand peaks
  • Cybersecurity – Hardening Metro’s security system and assets by controlling access points during power interruptions
  • Demand-Side Response (DSR) - Modifying demand for energy through various methods such as financial incentives and behavioral change
  • Distributed Energy Resources (DER) - Decentralizing energy sources including the use of renewable sources to generate and store electricity, while decarbonizing the environment
  • Operational Continuity - Maintaining or enhancing operational effectiveness while reducing total force energy demand
  • Business Continuity - Providing safe and reliable service to the community at all times
  • Climate Change – Providing solutions that reduce Metro’s carbon footprint
  • Transactive Energy – Controlling techniques used to manage the flow or exchange of energy within an existing electric power system in regard to economic and market based standard values of energy
  • Energy Conservation – Preventing the wasteful use of energy, especially in order to ensure its continuing availability

Photovoltaic Training Program:

This staff training and preventative maintenance program ensures Metro’s investments in solar remain in a state of good repair. The program includes annual refresher trainings, a troubleshooting “hotline,” and real-time monitoring of solar production. Since 2014, 120 personnel have received over 700 hours of training.

Renewable Natural Gas (RNG):

In August 2017, Metro began to pilot the use of renewable natural gas, a low-carbon alternative to traditional natural gas, for its bus fleet of over 2,200 CNG buses. In addition, Metro conducts periodic solicitations for the sale of carbon credits including Low Carbon Fuel Standard (“LCFS”) credits.

This program is in support of Metro’s Motion Endorsing GHG Reduction Targets and Biomethane Implementation Plan . RNG comes from waste sources such as landfills and dairy farms and can be delivered directly to Metro’s bus facilities using utility pipelines, which means no modifications to fueling infrastructure or vehicles.

Carbon Credits:

Metro generates carbon credits through the use of low carbon transportation fuels such as electricity and renewable natural gas. Follow this link for information about program solicitations.

Building Management System (BMS) Assessment:

Metro is assessing the BMS in each of its operating Divisions to improve system performance, efficiency and provide consistent standards, specifications, guidelines and practices.

Commissioning and Retro-Commissioning Program Development:

Metro is developing commissioning policies and guidelines to standardize our project commissioning requirements and provide a “best practices” level of commissioning authority and oversight to improve system efficiency and performance.

Lighting Retrofits:

Metro completed the installation and commissioning of an integrated lighting control system at a rail maintenance facility.  The resulting measured energy savings are over 975,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year.

Next, Metro is designing a full-building lighting retrofit for Gateway headquarter building, which could reduce over 2,000,000 kWh of electricity use per year and save over $400,000 per year in energy and maintenance costs.

Energy – Performance outcomes and trends

Energy Use:

When normalized to account for an increase in service levels, Metro’s energy use has remained steady since 2012. Because as much as 80% of Metro’s energy consumption is used to power road vehicles, minor gains in vehicle efficiency are poised to have a larger, positive impact on Metro’s overall energy use trend. These efficiency gains are expected to continue as fuel switching becomes more prevalent.

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Energy by End Use:

Metro’s largest energy end use is vehicle fuel for its transportation system. Around 92% of Metro’s energy is used to move vehicles and rail cars, with the remaining 8% used to operate buildings. As Metro continues to transition its fleet to electric buses, the energy needed for bus propulsion will shift from natural gas to electricity:

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Metro has been on the forefront of water reduction efforts for more than a decade. The Water Action Plan and Water Use and Conservation Policy guide Metro efforts. Metro aims to reduce water use by 20% below 1990 levels. We’ve reduced our water use by 48% compared to 2013. We’re looking to save every drop. Some initiatives Metro is implementing to conserve water include:

  • Bus washes:

    ECSD has piloted adjustments to bus wash nozzles and wash schedules at Divisions 7, 9 and 15, looking for ways to conserve water while maintaining cleanliness standards.
  • Dust Collection System Project:

    Replacing the existing air scrubber system that uses approximately 10,000 gallons of water per day. The new system will improve air quality for workers.
  • Reducing the use of potable water:

    Metro is installing connections to recycled water (purple pipes) where made available by LA DWP. This includes a new project in the San Fernando Valley along the Orange Line. Metro is also using recycled water systems at facility steam bays and channeling reclaimed water back into the main water line in partnership with LA DWP and Southern California Edison.
  • Native plant and drought tolerant plant landscaping:

    Metro is installing drip irrigation systems to reduce water loss due to evaporation, selecting plants that reduce the need for irrigation, installing sub-meters to better understand where water can be conserved, and finding alternatives to turf.
  • Permeable pavement (2014):

    Metro received a Proposition 84 grant from the State Water Resources Control Board to install permeable concrete at Division 4 to improve water quality, flood control and ecosystem protection while reducing polluted runoff. This pilot test site will determine the feasibility of more permeable pavement across Metro locations.

Stormwater and Industrial Wastewater:
Metro oversee 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 properties. We prepare and maintain all stormwater and industrial wastewater permits agency-wide.

Water – Performance outcomes and trends

Overall water use:

Metro used 2.11 gallons of water per VRM in 2017, which equates to a reduction of nearly 7 million gallons when compared to 2015. In 2016 a number of pilot projects were implemented to assess the viability of several water reduction strategies. Some of these were deemed unsustainable. In 2017, Metro identified additional long-term strategies that will continue the downward trend in agency-wide water consumption.

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Alignment water use:

Approximately 51% of Metro’s water consumption in 2017 was used along Metro’s rights-of-way (the “alignments”), largely for irrigation. 68% of this water was used along the Orange Line alone. This trend is consistent with previous years and indicates on-going opportunities for water conservation and efficiency along the alignments.

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Water use by facility type:

In 2017, only 33% of Metro’s water was used at Maintenance facilities, a reduction from 40% in 2016. These results indicate that when the modifications to bus wash facilities are completed in 2018, Metro’s maintenance facility water consumption could be reduced by as much as 64,000 gallons per day.

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Metro is working to reduce and divert waste across our operations. Some current initiatives include:

Master Plan for Solid Waste Reduction and Reuse (2016):
Building on the Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling & Reuse Policy (2007), initial efforts have focused on compliance with disposal and recycling regulations,  hazardous waste and used oil management. New focus areas include labeling and storage of empty containers, development of a waste management hierarchy, developing an organics management program, and widening the scope of training for all employees on all shifts.

Green Procurement:

Metro has begun the process to re-invent how we are procuring for goods and services. This means thinking about every product we use and how to reduce our impact on the environment. For example:

  • Replacing R22 Refrigerant:

    Partnering with DuPont, Metro mechanics tested new, lower CFC refrigerant, preserving our ozone layer, keeping our air cleaner, and improving maintenance practices on air conditioning units. This pilot is now expanding use across Agency facilities.

Diverting waste from landfills:

Metro is expanding efforts to understand waste streams and pilot projects to effect change. See the Energy and Resource Report for information on these and additional highlighted projects:

  • Waste Characterization Study (2017):

    To monitor the effectiveness of Metro’s Desk-side recycling Program and to determine next areas for focus, this study created a snapshot of waste streams at Metro Headquarters building.
  • Banners-to-Bags (2016):

    Advertising banners that hang outside buildings no longer go to the landfill when damaged or are no longer needed. They are turned into reusable shopping bags for distribution at local events.
  • Desk-side Recycling (2009):

    Program increases the agency’s recycling efforts. In 2011, 41% of solid waste was diverted to recycling.
  • Oil Filter Crushers Pilot:

    Condensing used oil filters before disposal means more filters can fit into a hazardous waste drum, reducing disposal costs. Use of crushers are being expanded Agency-wide.

Waste – Performance outcomes and trends

The total solid waste and diversion from landfill metrics measure Metro’s municipal solid waste (MSW) generation and diversion resulting from Metro’s daily operations. Diversion from Landfill compares the total amount of MSW generated with the amount of solid waste that was diverted from landfill through reduction, reuse, recycling, and organic waste recycling efforts:

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Hazardous waste:

Anti-freeze waste has been consistently trending downward. Metro achieved a 10% reduction in hazardous liquid disposal in 2017 compared to 2016. Hazardous liquids come from clarifiers, steam bays, and fuel station trenches associated with Metro’s bus operations:

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EMS - Our Process

Environmental Management System:

A set of methods used to achieve and maintain environmental compliance. Launched at operating Divisions in 2009, EMS expanded to Capital projects (Crenshaw-LAX) in 2016 and now includes PLE1 and Regional Connector. Metro’s EMS is certified to the ISO 14001:2015 standard. EMS utilizes the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle to identify and reduce risks, including periodic audits and a performance management review.

Environmental Training Institute (ETI):

Training is provided to employees in the following topics reflecting regulations and Agency goals:

  • Stormwater and Industrial Wastewater
  • Hazardous Waste and Universal Waste
  • Aboveground and Underground Tanks (AST/UST)
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Photovoltaic (PV) system monitoring and maintenance
  • Low Impact Development (LID) strategies
  • Other, including certification classes within Growing a Greener Workforce

Guiding policies for our process include:

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Metro is committed to innovation:
Research to enhance and protect the environment and education for Metro and the people within LA County. Metro continuously examines our systems and infrastructure in order to recover from disturbances, to tolerate or adapt to a changing climate.

Energy resiliency:
Metro’s Energy Resiliency is focused on investing in infrastructure that reduces outage duration, cost and impact on critical services.  Metro’s Energy Resilience vision is to continue implementing new technologies that increase system awareness and automation, allow for rapid islanding and hardening cyber-security against new threats.


Metro is reducing emissions, cleaning the air and improving urban areas across internal departments and in coordination with our contractors, local and state jurisdictions. This includes being the hub of information and resources on environmental sustainability so we can all have the tools to innovate.

Setting the course:
In February, 2016, the Metro Board passed Motion 57 , committing Metro to further goals to reduce emissions, clean the air and improve urban areas. This includes reporting efforts to conserve water , create green infrastructure , first and last mile connections to Metro’s transit system, and strategies to better deploy technology and promote Green jobs . Metro staff provided an update in October 2016 .

Engineering Sustainability:
Metro is working with organizations like the American Society of Civil Engineers on sustainable infrastructure standards development, reinventing the engineering process, increasing capacity and policy / advocacy.

Carbon Credits:
Metro generates carbon credits through the use of low carbon transportation fuels such as electricity and renewable natural gas. Periodically, Metro conducts solicitations for the sale of these carbon credits.

Growing a Greener Workforce:
Metro develops environmental and sustainability training for Metro employees and our community to deepen our knowledge about water and energy conservation, waste reduction and improving air quality through planning, building and operations decision making.

If you are looking for specific information, please make requests through the Records Information Management Department. For more information, contact Joe Parise.