Taken from a member spotlight of Western WA Clean Cities newsletter featuring the University of Washington as a sustainable campus.
UW’s Fleet Is Acing Its (Climate) Test
University of Washington (UW) Facilities has a mission: “Serving today. Preserving tomorrow.” UW Fleet Services is responsible for the management, maintenance and repair needs of the university’s vehicles assigned to departments and programs. They support vital university functions such as academic fieldwork, housing and food services, shuttle services, mail delivery, lab medicine and official business travel. This includes overseeing the university’s UCAR program that allows shared use of Fleet Services vehicles for UW student, faculty and staff. The University of Washington has long been committed to preserving the environment through its continuous efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Fleet Services is doing its part to minimize the university’s carbon footprint through several sustainable transportation methods such as purchasing more electric vehicles, building and installing EV charging stations, and using more alternative fuels.
Going Electric, Saving $$$
In 2015, the UW took its first step towards electrifying its fleet by purchasing a mix of 17 all-electric vehicles (EVs) and 24 plug-in electric vehicles. Today, Fleet Services owns 37 all-electric and 41 plug-in hybrid electrics. In 2019, the Department of Laboratory Medicine drove over 300,000 miles in UW vehicles. Fleet Services is now in the process of replacing 10 of its hybrid Prius sedans with all-electric Chevy Bolt sedans. This is estimated to convert over half of their miles to all-electric and save over $12,000 in annual fuel costs.
The UW has had its own car-sharing program since 2006 called UCAR to serve the university’s transportation needs. More than half of the UCAR fleet consists of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, including 20 Ford C-Max and 16 Toyota Prius Prime sedans. UCARs charge at specifically designated charging stations on campus. Investing in electric vehicles plays an important role toward achieving the University of Washington’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
Charging Up The Campus
Currently, the campus hosts 97 Level-2 charging stations, 20 of which are available for all customers with a UW parking permit for short-term use without any extra fee. The rest of the charging stations are exclusively to support the university’s fleet of electric vehicles. In the past year, UW Fleet Services installed nearly 50 new charging stations around the campus.
UW’s commitment to reducing pollution and saving operational costs goes beyond electrifying its fleet. The university is shifting away from petroleum fuel and is increasingly using more eco-friendly alternative fuels. Fleet Services used over 45,000 gallons of biodiesel (B20) and 50,000 gallons of ethanol (E85) in 2018. Ethanol and biodiesel are both renewable and domestically-produced biofuels that reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. UW’s clean fuel vehicles include 50 B20 trucks, as well as 215 E85 flex-fuel capable vehicles. Through its spirit of innovation and commitment to future generations, the UW is indeed leading the charge toward a more sustainable tomorrow.
For more news on sustainable campuses, click here to see how Yale University is providing greener transportation for their campus.