Rebates from these previous solar installations helped offset the $4.2 million cost of this latest installation. Sotero says they expect that in 12 to 14 years, the system will have paid for itself.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit’s (NYCT) Corona Maintenance Shop and Car Washer in Queens, N.Y., is a $165-million, 135,000-square-foot railcar maintenance shop and ancillary facilities used for the inspection, repair, cleaning and maintenance of approximately 400 railcars of NYCT’s Interborough Rapid Transit No. 7 Line.
New York State Governor George Pataki’s Executive Order 111 mandates sustainable design on all public facilities larger than 20,000 square feet. To measure the project’s sustainable principles, the project team chose to use LEED criteria. Bill Detore, director of facilities planning, mentions the water consumption and electrical usage as two of the building’s standout features.
A 400,000-gallon storm water retention tank harvests rainwater for the car washer operation to minimize the use of city water. Detore explains, “It takes what we call grey water, or storm water, from the maintenance facility. From the storm water drain it goes into this retention tank and then it’s pumped about 800 feet over to the car washer.
“It’s the first feed for the water, so we can conceivably, if we have a full tank, we can basically wash for a couple of days without using city water.” He explains that the water from the washer itself is also recycled.
He adds, “We did a little quickie analysis a little while ago and it’s almost 60 percent of the water that feeds that washer that’s a combination of either grey water or reclaimed water.”
The electrical consumption of the facility is also of note due to a variety of green practices, including the use of fuel cells, photovoltaic energy and natural ventilation. “Essentially, we really haven’t used that much electricity compared to the older building and this building is literally double the size of the older building,” Detore states.
What are agencies doing in the maintenance department itself to be green? The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) incorporates agency-wide policies to make its operation as green as possible. Tony Bryant, director of bus maintenance at TriMet, shares some of the green practices in the maintenance department.
“Fred Hansen, his whole ethic is about sustainability and the environment,” Bryant says of TriMet’s general manager. Hansen spent nearly four years as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) deputy administrator, serving President Clinton, Vice President Gore and Administrator Carol Browner. Prior to joining the EPA, Hansen directed the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for more than 10 years, so he has a long background of environmental stewardship.
Bryant mentions, “We [TriMet] were already green, when he came. He raised the intensity of that, actively looking for ways to reduce pollution and to keep stuff out of landfills.”
When talking about what they do at TriMet, Bryant repeats a phrase Hansen is known to say, that there is no silver bullet, it is a silver buckshot. There is no one easy fix, there are a variety of steps that need to be taken to work toward a green agency.
Bryant says they are always looking for ways to recycle, reuse or reduce resources, including recycling metals, batteries, lacquer thinner from the paint shop, paper collected off the bus and re-refined oil. “We went out to bid for a lube oil and one of the bidders had a portion of the oil [that] was refined,” Bryant says. It is a little more expensive to use, but it has been working out well for the agency and they have been using it for several years now. TriMet also sends all of its used oil to be rerefined.
TriMet has switched all of its cleaning products to environmentally friendly products. “We’re going through chemicals, trying to find more environmentally friendly but effective cleaners,” says Bryant. “Squirting cleaner on the wall and watching the dirt roll down, those days are over. You use a little elbow grease now,” he adds.