Electric Cars, Eco-Friendly Products Strengthen Green Commitment

Electric Cars, Eco-Friendly Products Strengthen Green Commitment
Ed Barnes, vice president for Administrative Affairs, and President Ortiz, right, stand with two new electric work trucks.

Facilities Planning & Management is moving ahead in its commitment to the environment, reducing its dependence on gasoline and using more “green” custodial products.

In the last few months, Facilities has converted nearly a third of its fleet of gasoline vehicles to electric cars and trucks. The number of electric vehicles now totals 29, which includes four-door sedans and pick-up trucks built by MILES Electric Vehicles.

The vehicles plug into a standard electrical outlet and require four to six hours of charging. Although the work trucks are capped at 25 miles per hour, they're also powerful enough to drive uphill to Kellogg House carrying a 1,000-pound load.

These vehicles, which are used for a variety of landscape and custodial tasks, are just one step toward reducing the campus's carbon emissions.

“We plan to increase using electric vehicles in the future. First, we want to see how they perform and make sure they're a worthy investment,” says Mark Miller, director of Facilities Management.

Custodial products are also going green. Eighty percent of the campus's general cleaning supplies, such as all-purpose cleaners, polishes and floor waxes, are now green product certified. To be green certified, the products must meet strict criteria on toxicity, biodegradability and levels of volatile organic compounds.

Other janitorial supplies such as bathroom paper towels are also green certified; they contain 62 percent post consumer materials. Toilet tissue, although not green certified, uses 33 percent recycled content.

“Facilities Planning & Management continues to seek opportunities that will have a positive impact on the environment,” says Walter Marquez, director of Administrative & Energy Services. “We believe every campus effort, big or small, will contribute to achieving the climate challenge President Ortiz has set for us.”