ITD employees commuting to and from work contribute an estimated 3,468 tons of carbon dioxide to the earth’s atmosphere annually, according to a greenhouse gas report submitted to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.
The 2008-09 Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Action Plan was created in response to an executive order issued by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter last May that charges all state agencies with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
It required state agencies to develop a greenhouse gas emission inventory and make recommendations on reducing those emissions.
Patti Raino coordinated ITD’s effort, under the direction of Matt Moore, administrator of ITD’s Division of Transportation Planning and Programming. A dozen ITD employees, representing a broad spectrum of disciplines, met last summer and fall to discuss ways the department could reduce greenhouse emissions.
The final report was submitted to the DEQ Feb.18, and Raino provided an overview of the report for transportation board members Wednesday.
In addition to the estimated impact of ITD commuters, the action plan also indicates that maintenance activities – ITD’s vehicle fleet, non-road vehicles and equipment – account for approximately 19,013 tons of carbon dioxide annually. Energy used to generate electricity for ITD’s 565 buildings adds about 4,113 tons of CO2, and the combustion of fuels to heat buildings contributes an estimated 4,008 tons annually.
ITD has implemented a variety of measures the past decade to become more energy efficient, primarily as a way of reducing costs. A dozen improvements have been completed at Headquarters, ranging from replacing heat pumps, fluorescent lights and heating and air conditioning units to landscaping and updating restroom facilities.
Thirty-nine similar improvements have been made at district facilities, according to the action plan. In 2006, ITD also installed a video conference system that linked district offices with Headquarters. Since the system was introduced, 432 video conferences have been coordinated, saving travel between locations and increasing ITD’s efficiency.
Measures are being considered to reduce emissions from vehicles used in the course of regular business include:
ITD recognizes the need to reduce emissions and cut fuel use, while at the same time ensuring safe travel on the state’s highways, especially in the winter. The severity of any given winter can impact the number of miles driven. These variables may make it difficult in any one year to reduce emissions.
The goal is to develop a five-year running average, which will help to normalize the variability in any given year. With this information ITD will be able to establish a reduction goal without compromising the safety of the driving public.
Immediately ITD will track alternative fuel purchases in order to take credit for reductions due to the renewable portion of the fuel.