‘Climate Change and Energy’

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 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…

Metro Riders Fight Climate Change 1.2 Million Times Every Day

June 26th, 2014 No comments

Metro provides the transit network around which a compact, low-carbon region can be framed. Without Metro available, the region would release an additional 400,000 metric tons of CO2e per year – equivalent to the carbon consumed annually by a land area approximately the same size as Fairfax County. By advocating for transit-oriented development as the region grows, Metro can continue to increase the net greenhouse gas (GHG) benefit or GHG displacement it provides to the region in three ways.

GHG Benefits of Metro

GHG Benefits of Metro

Read more…

Energy Efficient Station Chiller Upgrades

May 15th, 2014 2 comments

Chiller Plant at Navy Yard-Ballpark

Chiller Plant at Navy Yard-Ballpark

Each year as warmer weather approaches, Metro shifts priority from snow and ice removal to the cooling of Metrorail stations. In May, chiller plants throughout the Authority are started up, feeding chilled water to air conditioning equipment located in the stations. Though the design of the Metrorail system makes true air conditioning impossible, a reduction of station air temperatures is intended to provide some comfort while waiting for your train.

Some stations share chillers, such as Court House and Clarendon on the Orange Line, while other larger stations have two chillers, such as L’Enfant Plaza. Typical system sizes are around 350 tons. This is not a measure of the systems weight; instead chiller performance is defined in terms of tons of cooling, where one ton of cooling is equal to the amount of heat absorbed by one ton of ice melting in one day.

As part of Metro’s sustainability efforts, upgrades to chiller plant equipment consists of replacing old systems that have reached or exceeded their anticipated life with more modern, energy-efficient units. The new chillers feature oil-free operation, variable-speed magnetic-bearing compressors, and variable-frequency drives.

Two such chiller plant replacements were installed last year serving U Street and Navy Yard-Ballpark stations. With their smaller footprint, lower vibration, and operating sound levels, the units are proving not only more cost efficient but are also providing an overall improvement to operations. The result of the modernization is savings estimated at $15,000 annually per plant in energy costs alone. Additionally, when coupled with related upgrades to electronic controls and water treatment systems being piloted, the savings are expected to be increased in terms of reductions in both operating cost and water consumption. In 2014, chiller upgrades are proposed for Forest Glen, Wheaton, Crystal City, and Potomac Ave stations.

To reduce operating costs and improve efficiency, Metro’s facilities and fleet are actively striving to become more energy efficient. As part of Metro’s Sustainability Initiative, the Authority has set a target of a 15% reduction in authority-wide energy use per vehicle mile by 2025.

This post forms part of a series featuring content from Metro’s Sustainability Agenda, part of Metro’s Sustainability Initiative.

The Environmental Benefits of Metro

April 30th, 2014 No comments

Environmental Impacts of Life Without Metro

Environmental Impacts of Life Without Metro.  Click for larger version.

Every time you ride Metrorail or Metrobus you make a positive impact on the region’s environment. As you can see, those positive impacts extend from the regions rivers and streams right through to the air we breathe every day. For example, without Metro:

  • Stormwater runoff from 750 lane miles of new roads would need to be managed
  • An additional 41 million gallons of fuel would be used annually
  • The region would spend 7 days per household per year stuck in traffic
  • 400,000 tons of CO2  equivalent would be produced
  • 260 tons of volatile organic compounds would be released into the atmosphere
  • 22 tons of particulate matter would be released into the atmosphere
  • $9.5 million of additional environmental costs due to emissions would be incurred annually
  • The 2.2 million calories expended by Metrorail riders walking to rail stations each weekday morning would not be burned

In particular, the positive impacts on air quality become increasingly important during the summer months when harmful ozone levels are at their highest. When it’s hot and sunny, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from vehicle emissions react and produce low-level ozone that dramatically reduces air quality precisely when the weather is good and people are outside taking advantage of this. So with summer around the corner taking Metro never made more sense. To see some more detail on the environmental value of transit and Metro to the region check out the details here Making the Case for Transit: WMATA Regional Benefits of Transit Report.

This post forms part of a series featuring content from Metro’s Sustainability Agenda, part of Metro’s Sustainability Initiative.

Wayside Energy Storage Pilot

April 24th, 2014 2 comments

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Wayside Storage Battery Power System

For more than 20 years, Metro’s rail cars have captured and reused some of the electric energy that would otherwise be wasted when they brake through a process called regenerative braking. This process converts the excess kinetic energy, as the vehicle slows, to electric energy which can be stored and reused for propulsion power. Building on this technology, Metro recently completed tests to capture and utilize even more of the energy during braking through wayside battery storage.

The pilot project tests the energy storage efficiency and return on investment of a wayside Battery Power System (BPS). The BPS uses an innovative nickel-metal hydride battery that is characterized by low internal resistance. As a consequence, the battery can charge and discharge in a matter of seconds, making it perfect for wayside applications where rapid storage and discharge of propulsion power is required. Through this BPS storage system, the kinetic energy that would previously have been dissipated as waste heat can now be productively reused to power railcars and reduce overall energy consumption. Read more…

Metrobus Fuel Efficiency on the Rise

September 27th, 2012 8 comments

In recent years, the fuel efficiency of the Metrobus fleet has significantly improved, reducing Metro’s fuel expenses, and improving Metro’s environmental sustainability.

Metro’s bus fuel efficiency has increased by 27% over the past eight years, reducing fuel costs and improving environmental sustainability.

Over the past 8 years, the average fuel economy of Metro’s bus fleet has increased by 27%, from 2.96 miles per gallon (MPG) to 3.76 MPG today. The chart at right illustrates this trend, using actual odometer and fuel readings which are gathered and stored by our bus technology group.(Note that these figures include the consumption of compressed natural gas [CNG], expressed as gallon-equivalents. The slight dip in FY2011 is the result of some data loss during a transition to an electronic mileage tracking system.)

What is Causing this Trend? This steady increase in fuel economy is generally the result of technological improvements in the fleet.  Metro has been replacing older standard diesel buses with newer diesel-electric hybrid, CNG, and clean diesel models.  In particular, introducing diesel-electric hybrid buses to the fleet has helped push up the average: on the streets today, our diesel-electric hybrid fleets are achieving average mileage of 4.49 MPG.  Metro purchased its first hybrid bus fleet in 2006, and today these buses provide 41% of Metro’s bus vehicle-miles.commercial jumping castle for sale

Read more…