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BART blue shows off its green side for Earth Day

Release Date: 4/20/2004
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, U.S. EPA, 415-947-4297; or Linton Johnson, BART, 510-464-7139

New garage lighting program will reduce power plant pollution and save taxpayer money

HAYWARD, Calif.-- The Bay Area Rapid Transit District has developed a pilot energy saving project for its Hayward parking garage that will save money and cut power plant pollution using a $35,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency innovation grant.

Simply put, the project eliminates wasteful electricity the garage takes from the power grid for lighting. The electricity consumption is optimized by a non-descript metal box in the garage's basement that is controlled remotely by a micro-processor in the agency's Oakland headquarters. The amount of power flowing into the garage and lighting level is adjusted according to the amount of daylight and the garage's operation schedule.

This project can save up to 97,090 kWh of energy annually. Translated into air pollution figures, this means that carbon dioxide emissions from Bay Area power plants will be cut by 130,198 pounds per year, sulfur dioxide emissions will be reduced by 1,165 pound a year and nitrogen oxide emissions will be cut by 485 pound per year. On average, a passenger car puts out 11,450 pounds of CO2 and 38.2 pounds of NOx, so the pollution reductions realized at BART's Hayward Garage is like taking 12 passenger cars off the road every year.

Most importantly, the success of this project means BART will use the technology when renovating current garages and in the construction of all future ones particularly those on the extension from Fremont to San Jose and Santa Clara. BART will incorporate this technology in its Environmental Design and Sustainability Standard which are the guidelines BART uses when planning renovations and new construction.

Today, U.S. EPA's Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator, Wayne Nastri, toured the BART Hayward garage with BART executives and local elected officials.

"This is one of the best examples I can think of that highlights the good that can be done when environmental partnerships are formed," said Nastri. "And the good that will be done can be seen in real numbers, not abstracts. I'm pleased that BART applied for this grant and pleased the EPA could fund it."

The EPA's Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Marianne Horinko, said, "I'm thrilled with the success and enthusiasm surrounding the BART innovation pilot. It exemplifies the environmental value and long-term effectiveness of non- regulatory tools like partnerships and innovation."

"Given the extremely tight budget conditions BART faces coupled with rising energy prices, I am pleased that this pilot program is reducing BART's electricity costs," said Roy Nakadegawa, BART's Board of Directors from District 3, which includes the Hayward station. "I have always been committed to making sure BART uses innovative ways to save its taxpayers money and this pilot program is a terrific example. The fact that the device also reduces pollution is an added benefit."

Nastri was joined on the tour by Nakadegawa; Thomas Blalock, BART's Board of Director from District 6; Thomas Margro, BART's General Manager; Paul Oversier, BART's Assistant General Manager of Operations; James Dunn, BART's Chief Engineer; Katherine Strehl, BART's Executive Manager of External Affairs.

Saving 97,090 kWh/year would be equivalent to saving 358,416 cubic feet of natural gas which could heat 218 homes for a month or four homes for a year. The conversion factors used for this came from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection:

Think about television use. The average American TV is used 180 hours a month and uses .2 kw/per hour, or 36 kWh a month. So the energy saved with the BART lighting system could power 225 TVs for a year. The conversion factors for this came from the Idaho Power company:

For more information on the project, visit: