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CONSERVING RESOURCES IN OPERATIONS
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. During this era of expansion, the continued adoption of best practices has enabled positive trending across several performance areas. Since 2017, Metro has reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria air pollutant emissions through the transition to renewable natural gas and “near-zero emission” engines. We reduced energy use and increased waste diversion from landfills, even as the system is expanding.
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 . Non-revenue fleet vehicles used for field operations are being upgraded to battery electric, hybrid and cleaner diesel 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 the 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.
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.
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):
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.
In 2018, Metro reduced its total GHG emissions by an additional 13% from 2017 through vehicle electrification and the ongoing transition to low carbon fuel sources, including renewable natural gas .
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%.
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. This progress is even more noteworthy in the context of Metro’s 2017 GHG emissions baseline. Metro’s transit system now displaces 2.5 times the emissions that it generates through operations.
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. The use of RNG has helped Metro save nearly $500,000 in fuel costs while also generating revenue from carbon credits. 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.
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.
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
Since 2013, Metro has steadily reduced consumption through conservation measures, efficient building design and improved fuel efficiency. In 2018 alone, Metro reduced total energy consumption by 7.9% compared to 2017 as a result of reduced vehicle fuel consumption by buses and support vehicles.
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Solar System Size and Production:
In 2011, Metro committed to using 33% renewable electricity by 2030, reaching 31% by 2018. Metro generated 2.9 million kilowatt hours (kWh) from our PV installations in 2018.
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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 34% compared to 2013. We’re looking to save every drop. Some initiatives Metro is implementing to conserve water include:
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 has implemented water conservation measures, efficiency upgrades and enhanced water monitoring and management systems, resulting in a 34% reduction in water use since 2013. As Metro continues to grow, reducing water consumption will require innovative systems to reduce demand and improve water use efficiency. In 2018, Metro continued implementing water-saving strategies to reduce need and consumption in line with regional conservation goals.
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.
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):
With the establishment of a solid waste baseline in 2017, Metro renewed its focus on increasing diversion from landfills while simultaneously decreasing the generation of waste through prevention and sustainable procurement efforts. In 2018, Metro increased total tons of diverted waste by 71%. The disposal of solid waste in landfills is widely recognized as a significant source of GHG emissions, so these initiatives have a positive impact on regional GHG emissions reductions.
Pallet Return Program:
Metro’s Central Maintenance Facility (CMF) heavy-duty pallets last nearly five times as long as their standard wooden counterparts, preventing approximately 2,100 tons of wood waste from going to landfills each year.
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:
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):
Metro is investing in the future of the LA region, which starts with investing in our greatest asset – people. ETI offers environmental and sustainability-focused trainings designed to build support for sustainability initiatives, ensure regulatory compliance and foster an agency-wide culture of sustainability. Metro is driving a cultural revolution and transforming our employees into agents of change.
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: