HISD Transportation Expanding Propane Fueled Vehicles to Fleet
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) has awarded HISD a total of $100,000, to help with the incremental cost of purchasing 20 propane fueled work vans for the district fleet. The HISD Board of Education will vote on acceptance of the funds during its regular board meeting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 10, at Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 West 18th Street, 77092).
HISD’s Chief Operating Officer Leo Bobadilla said of the SECO grant award, “this award will allow the district to continue to diversify and renew its fleet in a manner that is cost-effective and that supports a healthier environment for our students and the community.”
This grant award comes on the heels of more than $2.4 million in grant funding HISD received to purchase 27 propane fueled school buses and a propane refueling infrastructure. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, propane-fueled vehicles produce 30 to 90 percent less carbon monoxide and about 50 percent fewer toxins and other smog-producing emissions than gasoline engines. Propane is one of the cleanest-burning fuels and is not harmful to soil, water, or the environment. Additional benefits of using a propane-fueled vehicle include reduced fuel costs and fewer oil changes.
In October 2011, HISD transportation received national recognition when Government Fleet, a leading transportation industry magazine, announced the top 40 Green Fleets for 2011. HISD was listed as the top school district green fleet in the nation. This was a first in the transportation department’s history. One of the key performance measurements of this award 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 is expected to reduce harmful emissions by up to 5 percent and extend the life of engine parts.
HISD transportation has also been at the forefront of innovative research partnerships. In March 2011 the district transportation department entered into a partnership with the University of Houston 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 atmosphere). HISD was the only district in Texas selected to partner with UH in this research project.
HISD’s Transportation General Manager Nathan Graf said, “The entire transportation team has worked incredibly hard to earn these grant awards and national recognition, the department has truly risen to a new caliber.”