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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Green at HART

Forty-one years ago, the first Earth Day was held around the country with over 20 million people participating in the event to create awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural beauty. One day out of 365 days (366 when you throw a leap year into the mix) to appreciate the Earth and protecting it.

Shouldn't the Earth be a concern... every day? That's the thought process at HART.

What we do naturally has a connection with "green", through taking cars off the road, reducing carbon emissions and providing for more walkable communities. In fact, the American Public Transportation (APTA), shows that public transportation saves the United States 4.2 billion gallons of gas annually and saves the U.S. $13.7 billion in congestion each year!

As an organization, we feel it's necessary to be a responsible organization focused on environmental sustainability. That's why we don't just rest on the numbers above.

HART has taken a number of steps to ensure that as an organization we are doing our part for the planet. Sure we have some hybrid buses and some hybrid staff vehicles, but the meat and potatoes is in the waste that HART recycles during our day-to-day maintaining and operating of the buses and the 750+ employee organization.

Steps that HART takes in regards to our fleet vehicles:
  • Entire fleet is EPA certified
  • Replaced 38% of our bus fleet with the latest EPA-certified low emission engines
  • Waste oil, used non-crushed oil filters, coolant, scrap metal, aluminum is all recycled
  • Freon is reused after being captured by a reclaim system
  • HART purchases recycled and environmentally friendly coolants
  • Use of synthetic oils, which extends the life of the oil and minimizes the number of times we have to drain it
  • 80% recyclable vehicle wash systems
Steps HART takes in regards to our transit facilities:
  • Waterless urinals and low-water consumption equipment are in place
  • Solar film was recently (April 2011) installed at Marion Transit Center to improve cooling efficiency
  • Motion sensor lights in restroom facilities
  • Electric hand dryers
  • Fluorescent bulbs are crushed; glass remains and mercury are recycled
  • All chemicals and cleaners are green certified
  • Use of non-aerosol sprays
  • No-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints that can have pretty serious health effects (liver/kidney damage)
  • 65% of our bus shelters have solar panels, with plans to include panels on all our shelters within 2 years
  • All office paper, batteries, copier toner cartridges and electronic circuit boards are recycled
With over 750+ employees, 200+ vehicles, and over 10 million miles traveled by our service vehicles last year, you can imagine just how much waste is recycled.

HART has also operated on a compressed work week schedule since 2008 for our Administrative Office in Ybor. The office is closed every other Friday, allowing HART to realize some energy cost savings through a reduction in energy consumption.

Shortly, HART will also take the "LEED" by beginning construction on the HART Operations Facility renovation into a Leadership into Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building - get it? Lead... LEED? The redesign will introduce a slew of new windows into the building, taking advantage of natural lighting. Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting (consuming 50% less electricity than fluorescent lighting) will also be featured throughout the building.

The name of the game nowadays is sustainability. Using public transportation is one of a variety of possible sustainable commutes, but know that beyond the buses, vans and streetcars, HART is doing its part for the environment!

In the past HART has been named a "Best Workplace for Commuters", given a "Clean Air Partnership Designation", and received "GreenFleet" status through the Enivronmental Protection Commission.

HART would like to extend the "green" gesture, by offering FREE rides on the HART system (not including the TECO Line Streetcar and HARTplus) on Earth Day, April 22, when you ride with a friend!

You can't beat saving a little green, while going green!

Find out how much you can reduce your carbon footprint by using the Carbon Savings Calculator on the HART of Green page at www.goHART.org/HART_of_green!

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