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Tag Archives: Climate Change

New Hybrid Conversions for UCLA Vanpools

BlogHeaderVanpool

BlogHeaderVanpoolThe University’s fleet has been electrified by the conversion of six conventional vehicles — including two in the UCLA Vanpool Program — to hybrid electric vehicles. This is the latest UCLA Transportation initiative to cut climate-altering emissions from mobile sources by expanding their cache of alternative fuel vehicles.

Converting vehicles into hybrids, which helps Fleet Services lower operating costs and meet sustainability goals, was a perfect fit for vanpools. The vanpool program has been in service for over 30 years, with 146 vanpools coming into UCLA daily from every direction.F86A7320

The hybrid conversion vans are commuting from Woodland Hills and Montclair/Claremont – communities 20 and 40 miles from campus. A 25-percent savings in fuel is expected from the newly outfitted vanpools.

On the road for almost two months, the six total sustainable fuel vans are operated by UCLA Transportation, the Ronald Reagan Medical Center and UCLA Recreation’s Outdoor Adventures.

Transforming the original vehicles into hybrids and making them more fuel efficient and cleaner was accomplished with technology from XL Hybrids. UCLA mechanics added an electric motor, advanced lithium-ion battery pack and control software. The installation took only five or six hours and was done on campus in the Fleet Services Yard.

F86A7328With the XL Hybrid Electric Drive System, fuel is saved through regenerative braking, a process by which the electric motor helps slow the vehicle during braking, to charge the hybrid battery. When the driver accelerates, the hybrid battery releases the stored energy to the electric motor, helping to propel the vehicle.

UCLA’s inventory of partial and zero emission and alternative fuel vehicles also grew recently with the introduction of more Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf electric cars. Fleet Operations Manager Laurent Pompa, a driver of one of the new hybrid vans, said, “These are some of the steps we’re taking to supporting a fully sustainable fleet at UCLA.”

In California, transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, according to air quality officials. Focusing on environmental impact is part of UCLA’s Climate Action Plan and the University of California systemwide pledge to become carbon neutral by 2025.

 

 

How Is Climate Change Affecting Hurricanes?

Earth melting into water

Earth melting into waterThe 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is already the worst this country has seen, and we're barely halfway through it.  But this is what climate scientists predicted: As global temperatures continue to rise, we will continue to see bigger, more destructive storms.

Hurricane Harvey, Photo by Karl Spencer/Getty Images

The reason behind this comes down to one thing: The air can hold 7% more water with every degree Celsius that the temperature increases. It's not that climate change is causing more storms; it's causing existing storms to become major ones.

As Christopher Joyce put it from the National Public Radio, "Heat is the fuel that takes garden-variety storms and supercharges them."

The data comes from a widely-accepted physical law called the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, which was established centuries ago before climate change became a politicized issue.

hurricane irma sept 5 2017 cira rammb

Hurricane Irma, Photo Courtesy of NOAA

Warmer oceans also feed hurricanes by giving them strength. One study looked at hurricanes over the course of two decades and found that storms today reach Category 3 wind speeds nine hours faster than they did in the 1980s.

Now more than ever, it's important to recognize what we're doing to contribute to climate change and work toward living a greener lifestyle. At UCLA Transportation, we promote alternative commute modes in order to reduce carbon emissions and our overall footprint.

You don't have to make a monumental change. Start small. Recycle paper, plastic and aluminum. Walk to the store instead of driving. Maybe bike to work one day a week, or month. Explore the options you have to create more sustainable habits. Individual events have led to climate change, so individual events can also fight it.

 

It’s National Dump the Pump Day!

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dumpthepumpSummertime and the living’s easy – when you dump the pump and try public transportation! National Dump the Pump Day encourages people to ride transit instead of driving a car to take them where they need to go.

happy young woman sitting on chair at beachThe timing couldn’t be better as summer is the perfect season to get out of your car and try alternative transportation: The days are longer, public transit is less crowded (school's out) and you can spend the money you’ll save on that well-deserved vacation.

When gas prices spiked during the summer of 2006, Dump the Pump Day was created as an opportunity for people to discover the many benefits of using public transit, namely to save money and decrease their carbon footprint.

Public transit helps people and their communities, and plays a crucial role in solving economic, environmental and social challenges.

Need more reasons to ride? Check out the other advantages to ditching the car.

Save up for a summer getaway and stimulate the local economy

Public transportation alleviates the financial burden of owning and operating an individual vehicle. Hand with gas pump and moneyYou can use Metro’s commute cost calculator to determine your savings. Transit also drives community growth and revitalization.

According to the American Public Transportation Association, every $1 invested in public transportation returns $4 in economic benefits to the community. Public transportation infrastructure lasts for decades and has enduring impacts on urban development, generating jobs and enabling economic progress.

Cleaner summer skies and healthier living

Every year, public transportation saves 37 million metric tons of carbon emissions and 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline nationwide.

Public transit gets cars off the road, reducing pollution and energy consumption. Letting transit take you where you need to go leads to a healthier environment, with fresher air and less traffic congestion. Shaping land use and development patterns, public transportation supports policies regarding energy use, air quality and carbon emissions.

There are a number of health impacts associated with using public transportation too: less stress, fewer pollutants in the air and safer traveling compared to personal vehicles.

Public transit use is also linked to increased physical activity, which helps with weight control, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and certain cancers, strengthens bones and muscles and improves mental health.

Paint the town summer long aboard public transportation

Public transportation services provide personal mobility for people of all walks of life. Access to transit gives people May302017_2318_1commuting options for education, employment, and social and recreational activities. It also promotes community cohesion!

It may seem like cars offer freedom, comfort and convenience but now is the time to dump that expensive polluter and give the more attractive alternative option a spin.

To find out more about how you can commute to UCLA using public transit, visit our website.

 

 

Bruins Not Backing Down on Climate Change

3d rendering, Europe. rendering in photoshop - Photorealistic globe with lots of details.

3d rendering, Europe. rendering in photoshop - Photorealistic globe with lots of details.

The University of California Office of the President recently released a statement reaffirming their commitment to fighting climate change in light of President Trump’s withdrawal from the historic Paris climate accord.

The 2015 pact between 195 countries to battle global warming worldwide established a goal to limit the increase in Earth’s temperatures below 2 degrees through nation-specific policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“At UC, we will continue to meet our own ambitious climate targets…conducting research and developing technologies that will dramatically accelerate our ability to transition to clean and renewable energy sources,” said UC President Janet Napolitano.

According to the statement, the UC is “doubling down and planning for the future” by pledging to “support and work with California’s governor, congressional delegation and state legislators to ensure that California and the UC system stay at the forefront of combating global climate change.”gradstudenttransit

In California, transportation is estimated to create almost 40% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. At UCLA, we are always moving forward on climate progress. Our Sustainable Transportation Plan outlines transportation demand management and vehicle use objectives to reduce emissions and improve campus livability.

Experts agree one of the biggest things that can be done to truly make a difference in reducing emissions is to entice people out of single occupancy vehicles and have them use an alternative mode of transportation or try multi-modal commuting. Significant efforts have been made to educate faculty, staff and students about our sustainable commute programs and incentives. We are constantly strengthening our transit programs to offer free trial passes to any new student, new employee, and any Bruin new to transit.

UCLA is also working to support drivers of ADA Plug and panelelectric vehicles and plug-in hybrids by expanding EV infrastructure throughout the campus. A project is in progress to build more charging areas that are accessible to permit holders, visitors, and those with disabled parking needs.

Coming this fall, UCLA will launch a bike share program as part of ongoing plans to make biking a safer and more accessible transportation option. There are also Bruin-Bike-Shareefforts to improve the pedestrian environment (with a special focus on health and wellness through walking) via campus infrastructure upgrades.

UCLA has already exceeded its goal of reaching 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels by 2020 and is concentrating on reaching the 2025 goal of carbon neutrality set by the UC Office of the President. A major part of the initiative to eventually emit net zero greenhouse gases will involve improving travel options that impact the climate less and protect the future while still providing convenience and benefits to today’s commuters and visitors.

So, while the federal government considers a possible renegotiation to re-enter the climate accord or a revised deal, Bruin students and employees will continue making positive contributions to the fight against climate change.

 

Best Places in the US for Green Living

GreenAppCommuting

GreenAppCommutingThe idea of a sustainable city—one where both the city and its residents do their part in maintaining a green environment—may seem like a pipe dream, but there are cities right here in the U.S. that are making that dream a reality. When examining cities in the nation based on transportation, waste management, quality of the environment, urban sprawl and alternative energy sources, these locales offer sustainable havens for individuals looking to lead green lifestyles.

GREEN FACTORS

To gain a better understanding of what makes a city environmentally conscious, there are several factors that need to be taken into account:

  • Waste Management: Waste management refers to directing waste away from disposal and toward different means of recyclability or "looping." With the space available for landfills diminishing and the sheer volume of garbage created by individuals, finding ways to cut back on waste has become a priority for cities focused on green living.
  • Transportation: It is assumed that a city's available commuting options will effect it citizens' transportation decisions, and therefore, lifestyle choices. The evaluation of the number of workers who bike, carpool, walk or take public transportation help determine the "greenness" of a city.
  • Air Quality: Likewise, the evaluation of the effects of a city's pollution levels on its residents' health determines the quality of environment. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) daily Air Quality Index offers a good idea of a location's environment quality as it gauges ozone levels, as well as the levels of carbon monoxide, Conceptual mini planet green parks along with skyscrapers and roads. Calmness in city chaos. One of a series. Isolated.nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide in the air; these all can have detrimental effects on human health. A moderate score in the EPA's Air Quality Index is less than 100. The scores rise as air quality diminishes.
  • Population: Additionally, the degree of urban sprawl can be used to evaluate sustainability in that high housing density equates to higher need for transportation and greater use of resources. So the number of residential buildings that house tenants in the double digits offers insight into the utilization and depreciation of a city's resources.
  • Energy: The sources of energy used to power individuals' homes can also be very telling of a city's sustainability. The use of wood- and coal-based forms of energy in homes and businesses are considered to have a negative impact on a location's environmental soundness due to its harmful emissions. Solar energy is considered cleaner and more sustainable, so the number of buildings using each can be used to calculate the overall effects of energy sources on a city.

GREENEST CITIES

With all of these factors considered, which U.S. locations provide the highest degrees of sustainability and green lifestyles? Here are four cities that are making strides.

  • Burlington, Vermont stands out due to several unique programs to support sustainability, such as a communal compost facility where grocery stores, food suppliers and restaurants bring their biodegradable food scraps, and where landscapers and residents drop off the leaves and clippings from their yards. When the compost is ready, the rich soil is sold to farmers and gardeners in the area.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii is first in the nation in the category of air quality, as the sunny Pacific climate has led to many residents and businesses employing solar energy. The city was awarded the EPA's highest classification on the Air Quality Index in 2014 with a rating of 27.
  • New York, New York ranks surprisingly high on the list of greenest cities in the U.S. When considering the Big Apple's efficient subway system and expansive public transportation options, it is no surprise that more than 50% of the city's commuters opt for public transportation. NYC also boasts a comprehensive recycling plan. The opportunities for green living draw many to the city, and its boroughs host varying services. If you're scouting for apartments to rent in NYC, be sure to look at the eco-friendly opportunities each has to offer.
  • San Francisco, California, given the city's long history of environmentalism, was a natural contender for the list of greenest cities. The Bay Area ranks high in many categories. The number of homes that are solar-dependent doubles the national average of only seven in every 10,000, and one tenth of San Francisco commuters opt to hike to work.