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Facilities News

Driving Towards Sustainability

Posted in: Sustainability

Photo of the driver's side of the new electric van #269 parked in lot 61 under the solar panels.

Introducing Ford E-Transit Electric Vans at Montclair.

In May 2024, Facilities introduced three, new, electric transit vans to the University’s fleet of vehicles.

In a world where the impact of climate change is becoming increasingly evident, sustainable initiatives are the need of the hour. Embracing this responsibility, Montclair has taken another step towards reducing its carbon footprint by replacing three aging work vans with Ford E-Transit electric vehicles. This move marks a significant stride towards sustainability, showcasing our commitment to environmental conservation and serving as a model for campuses across the country as laid out in the Facilities Sustainability Plan.

Let’s take a look at the various benefits of this upgrade, highlighting the advantages of electric vehicles, and their impact on a greener future.

Reduced Carbon Footprint

Transportation is one of the leading sources of carbon dioxide emissions globally. By adopting electric vehicles, our campus is taking a significant step towards reducing its carbon footprint. Traditional vehicles powered by gasoline or diesel emit harmful greenhouse gases (GHG) during their operation. In contrast, Ford E-Transit electric vehicles produce zero direct emissions, leading to a substantial reduction in on-site carbon emissions. This transition aligns with our institution’s sustainability goals and demonstrates our commitment to combatting climate change.

GHG emissions avoided:

Gas-powered vans use approximately 30.9 gallons of gas per month x 3 vans = 92.7 gallons per month x 12 months = 1,112.4 gallons per year.

Per the EPA’s GHG conversion factors, this equals 9.9 metric tons of CO2e avoided per year.

Typically, we would calculate the emissions associated with the electricity used to charge the vehicles, which would have been approximately 3.4 metric tons per year. However, it’s important to note that the emissions associated with Montclair’s grid-supplied electricity generation are offset by the Renewable Energy Credits we purchase.

Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings

Electric vehicles are more efficient than their conventional counterparts. Electric vehicles utilize regenerative braking technology, which charges the batteries while braking to become more efficient while driving in city conditions, ideal for driving around campus. With the new EVs, our campus will benefit from enhanced energy efficiency, translating into reduced operational costs. By relying on electricity as a fuel source, we can take advantage of potential cost savings in the long run, diverting these funds towards further sustainable initiatives on campus.

Over the last month, the vans have been charged once per week. Which means that their battery capacity is more than sufficient for our use. We used 279 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity to charge all three vans. With the cost of electricity approximately $0.12 per kWh, we have spent about $33 over this time period on electricity.  A comparable gasoline van uses approximately 30.9 gallons of gasoline per month and the current gasoline average price that we pay is $2.62 per gallon.

Cost to run gas-powered vans:

30.9 gallons x $2.62 = $80.95 per van  x 3 vans = $242.87 per month.

Cost to run electric vans:

279 kWh x $0.12 = $33.48 per month

Cost Savings:

$242.87 – $33.48 = $209.39 per month or $2,512.68 per year!

Improved Air Quality

By transitioning a portion of the University’s fleet to electric, our campus is reducing its dependence on fossil fuels and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. Electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions, which means cleaner air for everyone on campus. The elimination of exhaust pollutants, such as nitrogen oxide and particulate matter, contributes to improving the overall air quality and promoting a healthier environment. The university is setting an example of responsible environmental stewardship, ensuring a sustainable and livable future for generations to come.

Noise Pollution Reduction

Internal combustion engines in traditional vehicles generate noise pollution, contributing to the urban discord we often encounter. By switching to electric vehicles, our University will experience a significant reduction in noise pollution, providing a more peaceful and conducive environment for students, faculty, and visitors. The whisper-quiet operation of the electric vans ensures a serene campus atmosphere while promoting an overall sense of well-being.

Positive Influence on Students

The adoption of electric vehicles on campus not only reduces environmental impact but also instills a sense of environmental responsibility in our students. By witnessing sustainable practices in action, students are inspired to become inspired make environmentally conscious decisions in their own lives. The integration of electric vehicles into our campus fleet serves as a powerful educational tool, encouraging students to embrace sustainability and actively participate in shaping a greener future.

The introduction of electric vehicles on our campus marks a transformative moment in our sustainability journey. By embracing this eco-friendly upgrade, we are significantly reducing carbon emissions, improving air quality, and demonstrating our commitment to a greener future. This transition showcases our dedication to responsible environmental stewardship, inspiring students, faculty, and the wider community to embrace sustainable practices. As we drive towards sustainability, the adoption of electric vehicles on campus is a testament to our institution’s vision for a more environmentally conscious and prosperous tomorrow. [include a sentence about aligning with NJ EMP 2050 goals?]

This relates directly to the Facilities Sustainability Plan Goal 04-3: Reduce Scope 1 emissions generated by campus fleet vehicles.

Learn more about Sustainable Facilities!