Savings in Sustainability
There were more stats showing savings when RNL Design Associate Merlin Maley, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, was talking about two recent projects in Frisco, Colo., and South Bend, Ind. At Transpo in South Bend, they were replacing a facility that was originally an 1890s milking shed that had been updated over the years.
The new facility is the first multi-use transit building in the country to receive Platinum LEED certification. The 167,000-square-foot facility, with 125,000 of that being for bus storage. With a 38-foot high ceiling in the bus storage area, the heat rises so mitigating that with special large fans that circulate very slowly, the fans use low energy but help keep the space temperate.
There are a number of key features that Maley discussed that contribute to the energy savings of the new facility, including solar panels, geothermal energy, daylight sensing equipment and thermal bridging, which mitigates heat loss through exterior walls.
RNL Design did an infrared energy audit or the original facility and the new facility and attendees could see the difference between interior and exterior temperatures of the surfaces. Between March of last year and this year, the energy use went from $8,000 to $3,000, or $2.15 per year per square foot down to $1.78 per year per square foot.
Transit Made Convenient
During “Sustainable Planning, Policy and Community Development, Federal Transit Administration Transportation Program Specialist Darren Buck talked about the potential of transit with bikesharing. Bikesharing lets people avoid waits, deviations and service interruptions. And, Buck shared, it’s tremendously cost-effective.
Capital Bikeshare in Virginia and in D.C. have recovered all operating costs while Nice Ride Minneaplis and B-Cycle in Denver are approaching 100 percent.
While very few systems (worldwide) share branding with counterpart transit systems, it could really help for people to see public transit systems work as a network.
Another topic Buck addressed was ensuring equitable access to bikeshare programs, including a number of ways to close the gap, including security deposit assistance, installment payments and station siting.
An example he shared was the Montpellier, RF, along the Mediterranean coast. There are 50 stations operated by and co-branded with the transport authority. Free day use of the bikes is available for transit pass holders and there are a variety of options marketed to residents and tourists. Various leisure bikes are available for different needs, including cruisers and mountain bikes.