Greening the City's vehicles and heavy equipment
Transportation is responsible for 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in BC.
To help contribute to the Greenest City 2020 target of reducing carbon emissions by 33%, the City has implemented an extensive program to reduce the environmental impact of our vehicles and heavy equipment.
Emission reductions will be achieved through:
- Green technology
- Training and operations
- Purchasing decisions
Nearly all of the City's diesel-powered vehicles use biodiesel, a fuel made from canola oil, a renewable resource. 85% of the fleet uses B5 (5% biodiesel) and 15% of the fleet uses B20 (20% biodiesel).
Biodiesel reduces unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and smoke emissions.
In November, 2009, the City added an all-electric Mitsubishi iMiEV to the fleet, as part of a larger vehicle-testing agreement with Mitsubishi, the Province of BC, and BC Hydro.
The fleet also includes a Toyota Prius, which has been modified to work as a plug-in electric hybrid, giving it several times the normal electric capacity, and even lower fuel use and carbon emissions.
Vancouver is also part of a Renault-Nissan Zero-Emission partnership, and has added the first Nissan LEAF all-electric car to the fleet.
Training and operations
Efficient driving practices
The City has implemented a comprehensive program to reduce vehicle idling and wasteful fuel use.
The program includes:
- Driver training and staff education
- "Idle-free" signee
- Idle cut-offs set to three minutes
- A complete "no air conditioning" policy
To complement these, vehicles now have cab heaters to allow staff to keep warm without idling, and some test vehicles have instant-feedback devices so drivers can monitor their fuel economy.
The City has a contract with the Co-operative Auto Network to maintain a pool of vehicles near City Hall.
During the day, the shared vehicles are available to City staff, reducing the cost of the City owning and maintaining fleet vehicles. During off hours, most of the cars are available to the public, boosting the growth of this green alternative to car ownership.
The Equipment Services Branch now recycles 150 tonnes of scrap metal a year, recycles oil and vehicle batteries, and uses retread tires. Even the bed liners in City pickup trucks are made from recycled tires.
This saves 80,000 liters of oil and over $300,000 annually.
The City's fleet is managed centrally. This allows us to:
- Save fuel, by making sure new vehicles are of the minimum size and power necessary.
- Minimize the number of idle vehicles, by evaluating the best mode of ownership (rent, lease, or own).
The City also does many services in-house, including outfitting, maintenance repair, and fabrication. This not only saves money up front, it reduces the time that vehicles are out of service, which has added cost savings.
These efforts allow us to free up money to offset the cost of new energy-efficient technologies and improved training. At the same time, a smaller and more intensively used fleet reduces environmental impact.