Category Archives: Featured

Posted by Nicole Deck

100 Best Fleets series: Wake County

Wake County Government General Services Administration Fleet Operations displays its 100 Best Fleets awards since 2010.

The goals of Wake County’s fleet are the same as most: to carry out productive, safe, efficient and sustainable service at the lowest cost possible.

But the smartest and most successful way to achieve that goal, they have found, is by implementing new technology to continuously track data and uncover information.

“It doesn’t appear to be moving fast, but there’s a lot going on,” said Fleet Director Thomas Kuryla as he walked around the vehicle shop at Wake County General Services Center. “Even on slow days when there isn’t a lot of mechanical work, there’s a lot of planning and data analysis.”

Wake County has been on the 100 Best Fleets list every year since 2010, once placing number three out of the country.

There are about 1,000 vehicles in the fleet, including cars, trucks, trailers and boats, with emergency response vehicles representing half.

About 60 vehicles run on diesel, and 20 run on B20 biodiesel, Kuryla said. 400 of their vehicles are E85 compatible. Wake County hasn’t purchased new hybrid or electric vehicles in about 3 years, but around 50 hybrid vehicles are currently in the fleet.

Wake County EMS truck is lifted for maintenance repairs.

Out of the 1,000 vehicles and 200 that are serviced, there are a total of 10 mechanics.

“Our vehicles are in good enough shape that we don’t need as many,” Kuryla said.

Wake County has a preventative maintenance program in place that averts as many repairs. Vehicles are also sold with less mileage than most fleets. Many fleets keep their vehicles too long, Kuryla said, which means they’re stuck in the shop more for repairs, resulting in more downtown for drivers.

“By keeping our vehicles ahead of the game, we provide more service than other fleets out there,” Kuryla said. “People will say, ‘No, we can’t afford a new car…’ They need to think long-term and look at the big picture.”

Maintenance in the fleet is also done swiftly.

“At some places, the vehicles will spend two weeks in repair,” Kuryla said. “Here, they wait and leave — they’re working on it within 15 minutes and they’re out in less than an hour unless it’s a major repair.”

Kuryla has been Wake County Fleet Director since 2002, and he has orchestrated and seen many changes. One of the first adjustments Kuryla recommended was to transform and redesign the service and parts departments so that they were connected, and could communicate openly as a team.

“In a lot of industries, they’re battling each other,” Kuryla said. “We really wanted them to be teamed together.”

Kuryla said a big success Wake County’s fleet has had is with telematics, a system that collects data from vehicles when they’re on the road to improve efficiency. Telematics tracks the vehicles’ locations, miles per hour, time spent idling, starting or stopping too fast, whether or not the driver is wearing his or her seatbelt, and more. Drivers will be alerted with a beep when going beyond their limits, and supervisors are also automatically notified in some instances.

When telematics was first installed on the vehicles, drivers were getting a lot of beeps, Kuryla said. It didn’t take long for that to reduce considerably.

Wake County Sheriff vehicle.

Additional upgrades and changes are still to come.

Recently, the fleet introduced reusable oil filters, which increase the life of oil and keep them from ending up in a landfill. The reusable filters were put on 20 vehicles and tested for over a year. Kuryla plans to have all of their vehicles transitioned within 6 months.

The oil is also tracked with software that automatically changes intervals and notifies departments when the oil needs changing.

This year, they plan to introduce a drive over tread depth tire reader, which will generate data on the pressure and alignment, measuring the tread depth of each tire to decide whether or not it should be replaced.

Kuryla said the biggest challenge for their fleet is a common one — making advancements within the budget.

“We try to do our research and data analysis to justify why we want to do something,” Kuryla said. “Like the oil filters. Saying ‘I want to spend $75,000 buying filters’ – someone would say, ‘You’re crazy.’ But we just spent a whole year testing and found that we’ll have that buyback very quick.”

Kuryla suggests when trying to implement changes for a fleet, it’s helpful to talk to those who will be affected by asking their suggestions and opinions. For example, the new tire depth reader is talked about openly in the shop on purpose, Kuryla said. He hopes to increase interest and encourage discussion. When the oil filters were implemented, the mechanics openly discussed their experience and then helped come up with a better system.

“Get buy-in for everything you do.” Kuryla said. “Ask what would you like? What would make your job better? Get them involved. ”

Posted by Nicole Deck

Sustainable Fleet Management Practices & Technologies Training

From left: Heather Brutz, Al Curtis, George Survant, Brandon Pasinski, and Emily Barrett at the Sustainable Fleet Management & Technologies Training on June 20.

While experts at the Sustainable Fleet Management & Technologies Training came from a wide variety of backgrounds in fleet management, they shared a similar sentiment.

“The world’s changing; the climate’s changing. We’re finding out it’s a dirty fuel we’re relying on,” said Michael Taylor, of Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). “Alternative fuels are here to stay.”

The June 20 training covered an assortment of topics involving all things fleets — including sustainability metrics, vehicle selection standards, life-cycle cost analysis, change management, electric/hybrid vehicles and charging, idle reduction technologies, CNG, LPG and biofuels.

Rick Sapienza, of the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC), estimated there was about 200 years of experience in the room.

George Survant talks about fleet sustainability metrics.

Presenters included Emily Barrett, Town of Cary NC Sustainability; Al Curtis, Cobb County GA Fleet Management; Chris Facente, University of NC Charlotte; Joe O’Neill, CNG Guy Consulting; Brandon Pasinski, Town of Cary NC Fleet Management; George Survant, National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA); and Michael Taylor, PERC; as well as Rick Sapienza, John Bonitz and Heather Brutz of the NCCETC.

Whether a fleet uses electric, CNG, LPG, biofuels or a combination of those applications, some work better than others — it all depends on the individual fleets’ needs.

“It isn’t one size fits all,” Sapienza said.

Survant, who discussed fleet sustainability metrics, said he encourages fleets to stay focused by regularly trying to come up with creative, innovative solutions.

“The array of solutions is unprecedented for us,” Survant said. “I think if we as fleet leaders don’t keep our antennae up to that right solution match to the problems we have to deal with, we miss a good opportunity.”

Emily Barrett and Brandon Pasinski of the Town of Cary.

Barrett and Pasinski, who shared the Town of Cary’s sustainable fleet journey, advised utilizing the right vehicle for the job, using what you already have, and buying only what you need. The two also suggested driving correctly, limiting waste, spending time on maintenance, and planning your routes.

“The key is getting to know your resources,” Barrett said. “It’s a process. It takes time and culture.”

Al Curtis discusses Change Management.

Curtis discussed change management, explaining that giving your team what they need to kick-start and accelerate change is of utmost importance. You can inspire and empower your team by offering ideas and using storytelling, and offering insights and practical methods, Curtis said.

Cobb County started with CNG stations, then purchased Flex Fuel cars, propane vehicles, hybrid cars, and now has 29 Nissan Leafs, 4 Zero Cycles and 45 charging stations with 1 DC fast charger, Curtis said.

“You must not just change, you must transform,” Curtis said.

Lisa Poger discusses the value of electric vehicles.

Poger talked about electric vehicles and their wide-range of benefits. Among them are fuel cost savings, lower maintenance, noise reduction and employee safety, exhaust/emissions reduction and more.

Michael Taylor discusses propane.

Taylor showed how propane is widely used, increasing in its use both in the US and abroad, and how it can be utilized more in the future. Propane is also non-toxic, he said — if it’s spilled it would dissipate, and it can’t be blown up like gas can.

Joe O’Neill discussed the value of NVGs (Natural Gas Vehicles) — informing that natural gas supply is estimated to be large enough to meet the US energy needs for the next 100 years. NVG is also a cleaner burning fuel, he said, with greenhouse gas emissions reduced by 20 to 30 percent when compared to diesel and gasoline. NVGs are also at a lower cost per energy unit compared to diesel or gasoline.

Joe O’Neill discusses NVGs.

Brutz talked about creating a sustainable fleet plan, vehicles selection standards, and life-cycle cost analysis — which looks at all the costs associated with owning or leasing a vehicle to determine what the total cost of owning the vehicle is over its lifetime.

Sustainable fleet goals should include emissions (environmental), energy (economic), and efficiency, Brutz said. The key components of a sustainable fleet plan are to commit to a process, set reduction targets, measure actions, and review and revise.

When it comes to managing a sustainable fleet and making any kind of change — even with the right knowledge, ideas and equipment — standstills and setbacks are not uncommon.

“It’s not always a magic bullet,” Facente said. “You do have challenges when going uphill.”

But the presenters agreed the future looks bright.

“These technologies work, they’re just different,” Sapienza said. “Embrace technology and embrace change.”

From left: Chris Facente, George Survant, Joe O’Neill, Brandon Pasinski, Emily Barrett, and Michael Taylor.
Posted by Nicole Deck

100 Best Fleets series: UNC Charlotte

UNC Charlotte fleet vehicles. Photo provided by Christopher Facente.

This week, we take a look at UNC Charlotte‘s fleet and talk to Automotive/Motor Fleet Supervisor Christopher Facente. The university has been a part of the 100 Best Fleets three years in a row, improving its place each time.

There are 500 vehicles in the fleet, and about 150 of them are electric — ranging from Nissan Leafs to smaller work trucks, Facente said.

Older, less fuel-efficient vehicles have been replaced with utility carts and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), and most of the fleet’s Ford Rangers are now NEV Global Electric Motorcars (GEMs). The total cost of ownership, potential future repairs, and life-cycle costs are calculated to keep the fleet up to date and sustainable.

Facente said to keep improving on the fleet, he’s looking at more sustainability in general. There is already a recycling program in place, and the fleet reduces waste by carrying out practices such as recycling oil filters and enforcing a no-idle policy on campus.

“We looked at our processes, started to streamline little things…”  Facente said. “It’s slow, but it does take time to implement these changes. As we work on them, we get better.”

UNC Charlotte also has a robust maintenance program for electric vehicles, which are maintenanced monthly, Facente said. The repairs are tracked through Archibus, a centralized data platform, and history is checked for repeat problems/technician faults.

The fleet restructured the campus into zones and put maintenance shops near areas where the fleets work. In the old system,  there was a central base dispatch to anywhere on campus.  Now, each zone has electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians and are never over 3 miles from the buildings they service.  Telematics have also been put on vehicles.

UNC Charlotte fleet vehicles. Photo provided by Christopher Facente.

With all of the different changes, Facente handles it by communicating.

“You’re always going to have challenges with change,” Facente said. “Getting an employee to give up a truck and go to an EV can be a challenge. But if you take your time, explain the benefits, you can pretty much get everyone on board.”

As for advice, Facente suggests having a top-down strategy so that upper management approves, and being sure to not make a sudden change. In addition, taking the time to do a lot of homework to find the correct vehicles that will fit your fleet is vital.

“Electric works for us, but it may not work for everyone,” Facente said.

To share ideas among employees freely within the fleet, there is a brainstorming session every month, a fleet email group to share ideas, and a shop meeting weekly where technicians are encouraged to share ideas and problem-solve. The fleet has a Learning and Development center on campus with a variety of soft skill classes for every staff member.

Along with brainstorming meetings, there is a staff meeting every quarter where teams are recognized for their job performances. The safe team award is also given when the team goes without accidents.

(Facente would like to thank Associate Vice Chancellor Phil Jones and the late Larry Lane, who was his predecessor getting the program started.)

100 Best Fleets winners series – City of Durham

Fleet members of the City of Durham. Photo contributed by City of Durham.

This week, Fuel What Matters features 100 Best Fleets of the Americas winner City of Durham.

City of Durham’s fleet, which consists of about 1,520 vehicles and equipment, is a typical municipal fleet with cars and trucks (both light/heavy duty), refuse collection vehicles, police and fire vehicles, and construction equipment, according to Fleet Management Director Joseph Clark.

Durham has received the 100 Best Fleets Award every year since 2010, has been named as a Top 50 Fleet by the Leading Fleets Award Program from 2014 to 2018, and has multiple times been recognized for the Green Fleet Awards.

“We are proud to be afforded the opportunity to both participate and be recognized,” Clark said of the 100 Best Fleets award.  “Our highest ranking has been 7th, but we are optimistic for the future.”

Clark said he thinks the City of Durham fleet’s careful cost analyzation to determine what works well for the organization and its stakeholders is what the fleet does best.

Durham uses a  Fleet Information Management System that captures accurate relative data; and dealer and OEM level software and technician training.  The fleet also benchmarks other leading agencies in their successes and failures to minimize missteps and maximize returns; and uses optimized tuning equipment, advanced telematics and idle reduction technology to increase fleet efficiency.

“Our recognition is tied to our dedication to managing the fleet utilizing some of the best and latest tools available,” Clark said.

Durham also has plan in place with a goal of reducing annual maintenance cost and average cost per mile, increasing average fuel economy, and reducing fossil fuel consumption, Clark said.

Through the years, underutilized vehicles have been removed, allowing the fleet to decrease in size. Clark said this has been done by outsourcing police upfit builds, remarketing used vehicles within the City, and adopting a sustainability plan that includes fuel reduction goals, right-sizing and right-typing vehicles, utilizing smaller engines in police vehicles, eliminating 4-wheel drive when not needed, and more.

To keep improving on the City of Durham’s fleet, Clark said they hope to further invest in hybrid vehicles, along with continued investment in anti-idle technology.

In addition to reducing fossil fuel use and right-sizing vehicles, Durham’s fleet also implements programs for its staff.

The fleet holds monthly staff meetings where discussion is focused on topics that encompass the whole organization, Clark said. The City has a program called Idea Starter that encourages new ideas and has a pool of funds to contribute to selected ideas.

“Recognition is a key component that encourages ideas to be brought forward,” Clark said. “We push a continuous learning philosophy.”

Throughout the years, the fleet has also faced challenges. There was a period of time when economic factors forced underfunding of fleet replacement — a deficit that created a backlog of vehicles, Clark said. The fleet continues to try to remedy the backlog while investing new ideas when opportunities exist.

When it comes to advice, Clark suggests “buy-in from the top.”

“Buy-in from the top is paramount — if upper management does not support the idea, it will be difficult to be successful,” Clark said.

 

100 Best Fleets series: City of Concord

Members of the City of Concord Fleet Services Department hold their 100 Best Fleets award for 2018. Photo contributed by City of Concord Fleet Services Department.

Seven fleets from North Carolina made it on the 100 Best Fleets in the Americas’ list of winners for 2018 — and in the next several weeks, Fuel What Matters will be featuring each fleet and what it has done to achieve success.

This week,  Daniel Nuckolls, Director of Fleet Services since 2002, talks about the City of Concord Fleet Services Department. This was the fifth year Concord has placed in the 100 Best Fleets.

Nuckolls said Concord’s fleet has become more efficient through the years by implementing a career development program, rightsizing vehicles, and using alternative fuels and technologies.

Concord began implementing more fuel-efficient strategies and equipment in 2003. Electric cars and EV chargers are used throughout the city, and today, about 5 percent of Concord’s light-duty fleet is comprised of hybrid electric vehicles.

In the police fleet, Concord moved from 9-cylinder cars to 6-cylinders, which Nuckolls estimates saves about 34K gallons of fuel per year. Concord also uses B20 blend biodiesel for all diesel vehicles, which he estimated displaces 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.

“Fuel usage over the last 10 years has not increased very much at all — it remains flat,” Nuckolls said.

The City Of Concord is an active participant in the Clean Cities coalition and is a core stakeholder in the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, according to their website. Fleet Services also developed and administers the Concord Air Awareness Program, which educates and informs City employees about air quality issues.

“From the very get-go, we wanted to implement alternative fuels,” Nuckolls said. “Mainly for air quality, but also, certain things are helping cost.”

One of the most successful improvements of the City of Concord Fleet Services Department, Nuckolls said, is the Career Development Program, which is designed to reward and advance the careers of technicians, parts personnel, and supervisors by converting their training and experience into ASE Certifications (Automotive Service Excellence).

The Career Development Program was implemented in 2003 when the fleet had a total of 3 ASE certifications among 8 technicians, 2 supervisors, and 2 parts personnel. Now, the fleet has 84 ASE certifications with 6 Master Mechanic certifications.

Nuckolls said the program has led the fleet to become the lowest cost fleet in North Carolina for five consecutive years.

“As fleet director, I feel it is important to encourage individuals to distinguish themselves and to provide incentives for continuous improvement,” Nuckolls said. “As our technicians become more proficient, so does our fleet maintenance program, which drives our fleet availability and productivity. “

National Bike to Work Day 2018

A bicyclist chats at a pit stop at last year’s Bike to Work Day in Raleigh, NC. Photo contributed by BikeRaleigh.

All month long, communities around the US have been celebrating National Bike Month 2018. May is halfway through, but there are dozens of bicycling events happening around North Carolina that are still to come — including this Friday’s Bike to Work Day in Raleigh, NC.

If you’ve never tried out a bike route to work, National Bike to Work Day is a great day to explore your options and meet other bicycling enthusiasts. Commuting with a bike can help you save money on gas, avoid traffic, get exercise, and be more environmentally friendly by not contributing to air pollution.

Fontaine Burruss, Bikeshare Coordinator for City of Raleigh Department of Transportation, said Raleigh’s Bike to Work Day event is for anyone from longtime bicycle commuters to those who are trying it for the first time.

Sign for a pit stop during last year’s Bike to Work Day in Raleigh, NC. Photo contributed by Bike Raleigh

“It’s a great way to both celebrate those who bike to work already, and also encourage people who are in interested in biking to work but maybe haven’t taken that leap,” Burruss said.

The City of Raleigh’s Bike to Work Day event will be throughout the morning and evening this Friday, May 18, with pit stops located around the city packed with refreshments and giveaways. Most pit stops will be around in the morning, ranging from 6 to 11 a.m., with one pit stop after work from 4 to 6 p.m.

To find the map of pit stops in Raleigh, view below (pit stops are indicated by the orange bicycle symbols) and click here for the interactive version complete with hosts and times they will be there. You can also map out your route and view bike lanes by using Raleigh’s online bike map or downloading BikeRaleigh’s free mobile app.

Raleigh’s Bike to Work Day is a one-day event, but Burress said she hopes it makes a lasting change in people’s lives.

“Often what we find is people who try it once realize it’s not as hard as they think it is to bike to work, and they’re open to trying more often,” Burress said.

If you can’t make it out Friday, Durham County will also have a Bike to Work Day event next Thursday, May 24, with several pit stops located throughout the city from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.  Stop on your way to work for food and prizes; and for each location you stop, you also get entered into a raffle.

If you’re new to commuting, Durham County has a Bike Buddy program, where a partner can help show the way. View the Durham event map here and visit www.bikedurham.org for more information.

There are plenty of more National Bike Month events happening around North Carolina in May. For more in Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Knightdale and Wake Forest, visit gotriangle.org. For events in Asheville, Hendersonville, Waynesville and Black Mountain, visit strivenottodrive.org.

Before you go, be sure to check NC Department of Transportation Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation’s safety and education page to be aware of laws and safety measures when it comes to bicycling in the city.

NCCETC releases 50 States of Electric Vehicles Report

42 States and DC Took Action on Electric Vehicles During Q1 2018

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center released its Q1 2018 edition of The 50 States of Electric Vehicles. The quarterly series provides insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

The report finds that 42 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during Q1 2018 (see figure below), with the greatest number of actions relating to electric vehicle fees, fast charging deployment, and electric vehicle studies.

The report notes four trends in electric vehicle activity apparent or emerging in Q1 2018: (1) states considering multi-faceted electric vehicle plans, (2) contention around utility ownership of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, (3) examining the role of demand charges in vehicle charging rates, and (4) piloting the co-location of energy storage systems with electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

A total of 275 electric vehicle actions were taken during Q1 2018 – more than were taken in the entirety of 2017 (227 actions). New York, New Jersey and Hawaii took the greatest number of actions during the quarter, followed by Massachusetts, Washington and Minnesota.

Q1 2018 Legislative and Regulatory Action on Electric Vehicles

“So far in 2018, we see a number of states taking actions that incorporate multiple strategies or involve existing statewide goals,” noted Allison Carr, Clean Transportation Specialist at NCCETC. “Several states and utilities are starting to connect electric vehicle planning with other statewide electric grid modernization, transportation and environmental goals.”

The report notes the top electric vehicle actions taken during the quarter were:

• Hawaii utilities publishing their Electrification of Transportation Strategic Roadmap;

• California regulators approving utilities’ first wave of proposed electric vehicle programs and investments;

• A Maryland working group proposing a statewide electric vehicle portfolio;

• Missouri utilities proposing new electric vehicle programs; and

• Pennsylvania regulators issuing a policy statement on third-party electric vehicle charging.

“It is exciting to watch states live up to their reputation as laboratories of democracy,” said Brian Lips, Senior Policy Project Manager at NCCETC. “States are testing out a variety of strategies to build strong electric vehicle markets and charging networks, with many states taking multi-pronged approaches themselves.”

View the 50 States of Electric Vehicles Q1 2018 Executive Summary

View and Purchase the 50 States of Electric Vehicles Q1 2018 FULL Report

View the 50 States Reports – Solar, Grid Modernization and Electric Vehicles

Driving on Solar Miles

Driving on Solar Miles: Integrating Residential Solar and Electric Vehicle Charging panel at the 2018 State Energy Conference of North Carolina

Heather Brutz of NCCETC introduces the panelists of Driving on Solar Miles: Integrating Residential Solar and Electric Vehicle Charging at the 2018 State Energy Conference of North Carolina. Photo by Nicole Deck.

Industry experts discussed options available today for integrating residential solar with electric vehicle charging at the 2018 State Energy Conference of North Carolina last month. Panelists addressed some of the most commonly used technologies as well as the future of residential solar, electric vehicle charging and the grid.

The three panelists were Bharat Balagopal, a doctoral student at North Carolina State University; Stew Miller, President of Yes Solar Solutions; and Stan Cross, CEO of Brightfield Transportation Solutions. Heather Brutz, Transportation Finance and Operations Manager at NCCETC, was moderator.

Stan Cross (Brightfield Transportation Solutions) shared a map of electric vehicles and charging stations in North Carolina, and discussed the statistics of annual community benefits per 10,000 EVs:

• Approx. EV miles driven annually = 120M miles

• Barrels of Oil Avoided by EVs = 221K barrels

• GHG reduced from gasoline to grid power = 44M lbs.

• GHG reduced when Solar Driven = 84M lbs.

• EV-related fuel savings = $8.2M

• EV-related maintenance savings = $3.6M

• EV-related $$ Retained in the Community = $7.6M

Stew Miller (Yes Solar Solutions) said that the average gas-powered vehicle emits the equivalent of 11,435 lbs. of CO2 annually.  And on average, using the NC electric grid to charge an EV releases 4,185 lbs. of CO2 each year.

Daily Cycle of Solar & Storage graphic by Yes Solar Solutions.

Miller said that by using solar and storage like Tesla Powerwall to generate and store the electricity needed to power their vehicles, EV drivers can reduce their transportation-related emissions to zero. Powering EVs with a home solar system is typically cheaper than charging your car with electricity from the grid as well, Miller said.

Bharat Balagopal discussed electric vehicle charging and integration with the smart grid.

According to Balagopal, benefits of community charging are:
• EVs are flexible loads that can improve the stability of the grid
• Sooth the adverse effect of renewable fluctuations by quickly changing the charge rates
• Improve the power quality by peak shaving (reducing the load) and valley filling (increasing the load)

However, risks include:
• Uncontrolled charging of multiple EVs can destabilize the grid
• Simultaneous charging of EVs can introduce huge load to the grid

To alleviate those risks, Balagopal said, researchers at Advanced Diagnosis, Automation, and Control Lab (ADAC) devised a method for smart charging of EVs to maximize benefits and minimize the risks of EV integration. Their technology, he said, can intelligently schedule the charging of the EVs based on energy needs, working schedule, renewable energy generation and load pattern.

There are two main enabling technologies that allow them to intelligently control the charging of the EVs — the Collaborative Distributed Energy Management System and the Smart Battery Gauge. To learn more, click here.

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Posted by Nicole Deck

CFAT awards & new funding

NCCETC Awards $1.2 million in Air Quality Improvement Grants
New round of funding released

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) announced the results of a call for projects through the Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) Project. The 2017-2018 $5.6 million initiative, focused on reducing transportation-related emissions, is supported with federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funding from the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT). More than $1,245,300 is being awarded for eight projects to a variety of public and private entities. A new round of funding has also been released, and the applications are due June 8, 2018. Apply here!

The awards include: 

    Alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) leasing by BuildSense, Inc.

    AFV conversions and idle reduction technology by City of Charlotte

    Idle reduction technology by Convoy Solutions and Viatec Incorporated

    AFV conversions by Gaston County North Carolina Propane Gas Association (NCPGA), and City of Winston Salem

    Diesel retrofit by North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Division

The CFAT project operates in counties that do not meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards. More than half of North Carolinians live in counties that have unhealthy air. In total, the awarded equipment displaces 353,265.16 gallons of diesel/gas a year, reducing 97.02 kg of daily emissions.

Round 2 of funding request for proposal period has opened and awards will be announced by September 2018. Up to $1,455,000 in federal funding is being awarded for projects to a variety of public and private entities. The deadline to apply for this final CFAT round of funding for 2018 is June 8, 2018. For the application and more information, click here.

Posted by Nicole Deck

Particle Falls art exhibit in Winston-Salem

Particle Falls projected on the Stevens Center building in downtown Winston-Salem, NC. Photos provided by Clean Air Carolina
The orange fireball represents the amount of particulate matter in the air in real time, a form of pollution that can negatively affect your health just by breathing.

Winston-Salem’s 10-story tall Stevens Center was illuminated last month, displaying a giant animated light art projection of a blue waterfall turning into a fireball.
But the art wasn’t just for show — the spectacle represented the amount of particulate matter in the air in real time, a form of air pollution that can negatively affect your health just by breathing.
The animation, Particle Falls: Air Made Visible, was designed by artist Andrea Polli, Art and Ecology professor at the University of New Mexico, by using specialized computer software. It is generated by translating real-time particulate matter data from the surrounding air, using a nephelometer — an instrument that takes in air samples and gathers data about the concentration of particle pollution. A computer program then transforms the data into visual bursts of color over the background of blue light.
“With this particular exhibit, it’s so beautiful … yet it stands for something that can be so ugly,” said Dr. Stephanie Dance-Barnes, Associate Professor of Cellular & Molecular Biology at Winston-Salem State University.
Particulate matter, which occurs year-round, is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets, the smallest measuring 2.5 microns or less in diameter – just 1/30th the width of a human hair, according to Clean Air Carolina. While larger particles known as soot affect your health, it is the fine particulate matter that is more dangerous because it can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, enter the bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier.
There is no safe level of particulate matter.
“Most air pollution in North Carolina is invisible, so it’s not on most people’s radar at all,” said June Blotnick, Executive Director of Clean Air Carolina. “So this particular public art installation gets people’s attention, and gets them to start asking questions.”
Winston-Salem has been ranked as the 142nd most polluted cities in 2016 and traditionally ranks above the national average of US cities for average annual particle pollution, according to Clean Air Carolina.
Sources of particle pollution in Winston-Salem include cars, trucks, diesel buses and construction equipment, landscaping tools, agriculture, industrial facilities, power plants, biomass, and residential wood burning.
“For climate deniers, for climate believers — it’s something that you can come down and say, ‘You know what? I may not believe about the climate changing, but I know that I’m breathing that in, and what that means for me,'” said Wendell Hardin, Sustainability Manager of City of Winston-Salem.
For more information about Particle Falls, check out this video.

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