Revisiting green approaches in parking

Brian Shaw
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This article was previously published in The Parking Professional's July 2018 issue as "Revisiting Green Approaches," by Brian Shaw, and is reproduced with permission. Read the original article.

Stanford University, California, has a growing and effective sustainability enterprise that covers most aspects of the university’s operations and systems.

In 2012, as the university needed to source new transit buses for its aging fleet, Parking & Transportation Services (P&TS) evaluated traditional diesel, hybrid-diesel, alternative fuels, battery-retrofits, and battery electric buses BEBs. It was decided that BEBs would be the best bus platform for Stanford.

There is a significant delta in the acquisition costs between a conventional diesel 40-foot transit bus and an equivalent 40-foot BEB—around $215,000 or 44 percent more. While Stanford can lease the BEBs and use state grants to reduce acquisition costs, there is still that significant delta. P&TS is still using conventional diesel buses in addition to the BEBs. During the same three-year time frame, P&TS reviewed the maintenance and fuel costs for its diesel fleet and its growing fleet of BEBs. For the diesels, maintenance averaged just under $25,000 per bus while fuel was over $20,000 per bus at an average fuel price of $3.25 per gallon in a three-year timespan. For the BEBs, maintenance was just under $15,000 per bus while fuel or electricity costs were only $1,600 per year at $0.10 KWH.

Using those data points, P&TS ran a 12-year life cycle cost projection for the diesel fleet as well as the BEBs. The annual operations and maintenance (O&M) savings between a diesel and a BEB is $29,000. Assuming that annual savings holds over the 12-year life cycle of a typical 40-foot transit bus, after four years, the $215,000 acquisition delta is wiped out by the O&M savings. After four years, P&TS is realizing significant savings to its O&M costs, which could be used to help acquire additional BEBs.

The analysis conducted by P&TS concluded that during the 12-year life cycle of a typical 40-foot transit bus, the BEBs would save the university money while reducing environmental effects. In addition, with Stanford Energy System Innovations sourcing a large majority of the university’s power from renewable sources, including on-campus solar generation, the BEBs are in large part powered by the sun.

Leadership has given P&TS the green light to continue to electrify the entire bus fleet. Our plan is to have the entire fleet moved over to BEBs by 2022.

The Parksmart program provides a systematic and comprehensive approach to greening parking and transportation facilities, and includes measures that address alternative transportation, renewable energy and greening vehicle fleets. Learn how to become a Parksmart Advisor this November.

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