Author Archive

Checking in Down Stream: Metro’s Net Zero Water Treatment Facility 2 Years In

November 21st, 2016 1 comment

Two years into operation Metro’s solar powered high efficiency water treatment facility continues to work as designed by producing as much energy as it needs on-site to perform the entire subsurface water treatment process.

img_8151According to Basil Borisov, Environmental Engineer at Metro’s Office of Environmental Management and Industrial Hygiene, “During the summer of 2016, the Largo Water Treatment Facility has been generating more power than it uses.  The monthly surplus of electricity has almost reached 300 kWh; for comparison, a typical refrigerator uses 50 to 100 kWh per month.  Excess electricity was generated on more than 25 days out of each month.”

 

Clean energy water treatment supporting a clean Bay – keep up the good work.

 

Metro is Rebuilding More Sustainably

April 22nd, 2016 No comments

As Earth Day approaches, we’ve documented the strong foundation of sustainable practices at Metro in our newly updated Sustainability Report.

Metro has launched a rebuilding and service campaign that is aimed to bring riders back to Metro by providing safe effective and reliable service. Because service is one of the biggest sustainability benefits transit provides, rebuilding its ridership will help the authority reach the regional ridership, climate change and connected communities goals as outlined in Metro’s Sustainability Initiative.

Metro’s annual sustainability report provides a rare view into Metro’s efforts to achieve the sustainability goals it set for itself – reporting on successes and setbacks alike. The past and future projects list under each target reads like an encyclopedia of transit agency best practices from testing energy efficient switch heaters to designing pedestrian accessible stations.

Rebuilding sustainably where possible will help Metro achieve long term financial savings while creating a cleaner, more modern, safer, and more reliable system. These investments will help Metro on it’s trajectory to reach its ambitious but achievable sustainability targets. To read more about Metro’s achievements to date and upcoming projects, check out Metro’s 2016 Annual Sustainability Report.

Tell us what you think of Metro’s sustainability efforts. We are always listening to new ideas for potential projects. Submit your ideas online or email them to planning@wmata.com.

 

Another Bright Idea – Metro Seeking to Install Solar Capacity at Parking Lots

November 2nd, 2015 1 comment

Metro is seeking partnership to deliver up to 13 megawatts of solar electricity at nine different locations.

WMATA has a fair amount of real estate, and some of those assets are ripe for the installation of technology to harness energy from the sun.  The Office of Planning began studying where this might in fact be feasible and concluded that there were a number of places where sun patterns and construction feasibility and power draw potentials all coincided to suggest potential solar capacity installation.  Installing this capacity can cost money up front, so Metro is pursuing partners who can engage with us in what are called Solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

Branch Ave Station Aerial

Metro’s parking lots, like this one at the Branch Avenue station, may soon sprout solar carports.

Not only do we expect to reduce operating costs and support renewable energy without using limited capital dollars, installing solar carports in parking lots gives customers improved lighting and shelter from the elements. Maximizing the use of Metro’s assets under a lease or performance-based contract structure such as a PPA supports the focus of the Authority to achieve the resource efficiency and regional sustainability targets set as part of Metro’s Sustainability Initiative.

What do you think of this potential change to Metrorail stations?

On-Site Solar Power Solicitation

Metro Takes Electric Demonstration Bus On The Road

July 27th, 2015 No comments

Electric bus demonstration on-site at Metro

Electric Bus New Flyer 060105 Electric Bus New Flyer 060105

 Metro staff conducted a hands-on review of all-electric bus technology this month with a manufacturer demonstration for Bus Engineering, Bus Planning, Marketing and Sustainability staff. While the Authority has made no commitment to purchasing all-electric buses, on-site demonstrations such as this enable staff to explore the emerging technology and better understand its performance and operational characteristics first hand.

Electric Bus New Flyer 060105Metrobus fleet fuel economy has improved 15% since 2005 through the expanded use of hybrid buses and improved performance across the entire bus fleet. As the Authority seeks to build upon this efficiency, conducting market research into all-electric technology provides staff with a direct experience of this near-silent and tailpipe emissions-free technology. Low-vibration electric buses such as the one demonstrated offer a smoother ride and eliminate the urban-noise and air-pollution impacts of existing bus technology. In the future, this technology has the potential to enhance the overall livability of our cities, particularly in dense urbanized areas with high frequency bus services. In the coming months other manufacturers will be visiting Metro as part of the Authority’s market research of all-electric bus technology and investigation into best locations for potential roll out.

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Transit Sustainability Experts Gather in DC

June 18th, 2015 No comments

Sustainability experts gathered in DC last Monday to talk about some of their agencies most exciting and biggest opportunities.

Sustainability Meet E Coast 060115-8076

Last Monday Metro hosted the first meeting of East Coast transit sustainability specialists. Sustainability staff from Metro, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Amtrak, and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority were in attendance to discuss how they have successfully implemented projects focused on energy savings and operational efficiency. Developments in  regenerative braking energy storage, agency wide energy management programming, and waste management were presented by attendees. In the afternoon, a lively discussion on the role of transit in regional sustainability was taken on the road on an all-electric bus demonstration ride.

Through future sustainability forums planned for later in 2015 inter agency collaboration will continue to enhance resource efficient transit operations throughout the region.

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Metro Shines a Light on Sustainability – and Wants Your Bright Ideas!

February 9th, 2015 6 comments

New garage lighting initiative demonstrates the power of innovative thinking (and partnerships)

Huntington South Garage Before and After

Huntington South Garage Before and After

Last spring you read about Metro’s initiative to replace 13,500 light fixtures with high-efficiency light-emitting diode (LED) lights.  This investment would brighten and make safer Metro’s garages while cutting energy costs by utilizing state-of-the art lighting, monitoring, motion-sensing, and remote management technology.

Good news – Metro has completed the first set of installations at our Huntington garage and is rolling this technology out to the remainder of our structured parking facilities.  Check out a video of the project underway!

Notably, this initiative is the product of a private partnership with Phillips and the launch of innovative performance-based contracting at WMATA.  Philips self-financed and is installing, and maintaining the lighting system for 10 years. In return, WMATA makes pre-set “service” payments only if Philips can produce the energy savings they have guaranteed. WMATA will continue to pay the energy bills for lighting in the garages, but because the garages cost less to light, Phillips can get paid out of the cost savings over the 10-year contract cycle. Read more…