Earth Week Celebrations Include Grant and Award

April 25, 2016

Earth Week 2016 marked two wins for SEPTA's sustainability program; the Pennsylvania Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence and $2.6 M grant from the Federal Transit Administration's Low and No-Emission Vehicle Deployment (LONO) Program. Both achievements further SEPTA's efforts to improve greenhouse gas emissions and energy use performance.

Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence
On April 19, 2016, SEPTA was awarded the Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence. The Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence is the highest statewide honor presented to businesses and organizations for environmental performance. This award was given to SEPTA for its wayside energy initiative at the Griscom Substation on the Market-Frankford Line.
SEPTA was the first transit agency in the world to use wayside energy storage technology. This technology captures energy from braking trains as they approach the station, and stores it in a battery off site. The stored energy can be used to provide power for subsequent trains to use when they are accelerating to leave the station. For an animated GIF of this process and for details about how SEPTA plans to expand the Wayside Energy Storage System, check out the blog post on bringing wayside storage to scale.
The energy savings benefits of the Wayside Energy Storage System are expected to be huge, with each Wayside Energy Storage System giving SEPTA access to 10.55MW of energy each year. These savings also turn into financial benefits, with the first of these systems, at Letterly Station, reducing its electricity bills by 10%, or $190,000 per year. Wayside energy storage supports several of SEPTA's sustainability goals, including its pledge of budget neutrality. It also supports SEPTA's environmental goal of improving its energy use performance, which in turn lessens SEPTA's carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

Electric Bus Grant
SEPTA received a $2.6M grant from the Federal Transit Administration, to purchase 25 zero-emission battery-electric buses. This grant, under the Low and No-Emission Vehicle Deployment (LONO) Program, will help to cover the incremental cost of the zero-emission battery-electric bus technology. These buses will serve Routes 29 and 79 in South Philadelphia. As Philadelphia does not currently meet the federal standards for ozone levels, helping to minimize pollution is not only a step improving SEPTA's greenhouse gas performance, is at the same time a step toward cleaner air on the streets and a more sustainable Philadelphia.

To learn more about our environmental goals, visit SEPTA's Environmental Sustainability page, and look out for future posts on both of these initatives.
For more information about the Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence: