HISD Transportation Ranked as the Top School District Green Fleet in the Nation
Government Fleet, a leading transportation industry magazine, has announced the top 40 Green Fleets for 2011 and HISD is listed as the top school district green fleet in the nation.
HISD’s Chief Operating Officer Leo Bobadilla said, “A green fleet improves Houston’s air quality for our children and is also a smart financial decision. I am so impressed by the commitment of our transportation team, always striving for a greener fleet and keeping the safe transport of district students at the forefront of everything they do. I am so proud of the hard working team in the transportation department for achieving this recognition. We could not do this without the support and leadership of our Board of Education and the Superintendent”
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HISD’s Transportation General Manager Nathan Graf said, “This award is an awesome recognition of the drive and determination of the entire transportation team to maintain and build a green fleet. From the bus drivers who monitor engine idling to the shop team members who reduce waste stream daily to the routing team who uses GPS to optimize routing efficiency, everyone in the department played an essential role in this award. Senior Manager of Fleet Operations Mark Swackhamer and I are extremely honored to work with such an outstanding team.”
Each year the top 40 fleets are chosen based on documentation of key performance measurements. One of the key measurements is fleet composition of conventional fueled vehicles versus alternative fuels such as biodiesel and propane. In August 2011 propane school buses were added to the district fleet as the result of a $2.2 million grant. HISD estimates each of the 25 propane buses will save more than $3,000 a year in fuel and maintenance costs and will reduce particulate matter by 99.99 percent over older petroleum diesel buses.
Another key measurement is fuel and emissions. In 2010-2011, HISD began using biodiesel in all of its school buses and diesel light-fleet vehicles. Biodiesel is derived from renewable sources such as soybeans which are expected to reduce harmful emissions by up to 5 percent and extend the life of engine parts.
The green fleet award also looks at both employee involvement and supporting programs. Bus drivers monitor engine idling daily and shop team members recycle everything from batteries to oil filters to engine and transmission fluids. Nothing is left by the wayside. For example, the lead and plastics from the batteries are removed and recycled. In March 2011 the district transportation department entered into a partnership program with the University of Houston (UH) to test a school bus filter that will convert smog-producing pollutants emitted from engines into water and nitrogen gas (nitrogen gas is a naturally occurring substance in the air that we breathe). HISD was the only district in Texas selected to partner with UH in this research project.
The top 40 green fleet award comes on the heels of another award that the HISD transportation department recently received. In May 2011, the transportation department was the only school district in the nation to be listed as a top 100 Best Fleets of North America for 2011.