Policy Statement and Commitments

The following sustainability statement and environmental commitments were developed to evolve best practices on sustainability at the GCRTA:

GCRTA is committed to protecting the environment, as it provides public transit services to Northeast Ohio. We will provide sound business practices that integrate sustainable principles throughout every level of operation to create a healthier and livable environment for our customers and the community we serve. We will strive to provide the following environmental commitments:

  • Communicate and advance the use of environmental practices throughout GCRTA.
  • Make environmental concerns an integral part of our planning and decision-making processes and implement effective environmental programs.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiencies throughout its transit operations and facilities.
  • Prevent pollution and conserve resources by reducing waste, creating better disposal options, recycling and procure new and better products and technologies.
  • Educate the community and our customers on the environmental benefits of public transit, and encourage biking, walking, carpooling and van pooling.
  • Provide quality sustainable public spaces and amenities around our transit stations and bus shelters to promote walking and bicycle accessibility for link trip options.
  • Encourage the use of transit as a viable, environmentally friendly, sustainable commuting choice.
  • Incorporate sustainability and green building principles throughout the planning, design, construction and operations of our facilities.
  • Continue to explore and implement renewable energy solutions to reduce energy consumptions at our facilities.
  • Adhere to all state and federal EPA regulations, standards and monitoring methods regarding environmental quality.

This policy applies to all employees, departments and facilities throughout the Authority. Participation of everyone is required in order to meet the commitments set forth in this policy.

Adopted: Sept. 21, 2010, Board Resolution 2010-067

Jan. 27, 2017, APTA recognizes RTA for sustainability achievements

2011-2019 Workplan

Summary of Sustainable and Environmental Commitments

Environmental Category / Indicator

Commitments

 

Energy Management

Type of Emissions

 Lead

Agency-wide Energy Reduction/Conservation - Education Provide energy reduction and conservation educational information to all employees. CO2 All
Agency-wide Energy Usage and Carbon Emission Reduction Create baselines and benchmarks of energy usage for all GCRTA departments and facilities to reduce indirect carbon emissions. CO2 All
Agency-wide Office/Facility Equipment Use - Energy Reduction Inventory and release data on all office and facility equipment incl. emission performance by division, department, and facility. CO2 All
Agency-wide Office/Facility Equipment Use - Energy Reduction Create baselines and benchmarks on energy performances for all indirect emissions related to office/facility equipment use for reduction CO2 All
Agency-wide Office/Facility Equipment Use - Shut Down Introduce and mandate policy for equipment shut-downs; Identify energy efficiency and safe mode functions for IS specified equipment that must stay Introduce and mandate policy for equipment shut-downs; Identify energy efficiency and safe mode functions for IS specified equipment that must stay on. CO2 All
Bus Garage Electronic Energy Reduction Reduce energy use by mandating that all electronics and lighting are turned off when not in use (conference rooms, break rooms, televisions, radios, electronic appliances, messages, training vending and video units, etc.) CO2 Operations
Energy Conservation Retrofit and replace 22,590 bulbs, fixtures, & sensors at operating facilities. CO2 EPM
Energy Conservation Insulate, construct and/or replace rail station doors to conserve energy. CO2 EPM
MOB Office Electronic Energy Reduction Reduce energy use by mandating that all electronics and lighting are turned off when not in use (conference rooms, breakrooms, televisions, radios, electronic appliances, messages, training vending and video units etc.) CO2 All
Office/Facility Equipment Use - Energy Reduction (Non-work essential) Inventory non-work essential items (refrigerators, coffee makers, radios, fans, desk lamps, electronic signage, vending machines, etc.) to capture energy use and reduction needs; Reduce # of items used per floor/facility. CO2 All
Rail Facilities Electronic Energy Reduction Reduce energy use by mandating that all electronics and lighting are turned off when not in use (conference rooms, breakrooms, televisions, radios, electronic appliances, messages, training vending and video units, etc.) CO2 Operations
Rail Facilities Electronic Energy Reduction Reduce energy use by mandating that all electronics and lighting are turned off when not in use (conference rooms, break rooms, televisions, radios, electronic appliances, messages, training vending and video units, etc.) CO2 Operations
Vending Machines Install passive infrared sensors on all vending machines to reduce energy and fugitive emissions. CO2 CO2, HFCs

Mobile Combustions

Type of Emissions

Lead

Gasoline and diesel combustions Create baselines and benchmarks of emissions released from revenue vehicles (Ultra low sulfur diesel - ULSD) from carbon dioxides and nitrogen oxides; record carbon emissions released. CO2,HFCs Operations
Gasoline combustion Create baselines and benchmarks of emissions released from non- revenue vehicles; record carbon emissions released. CO2, NOx, CH4, HFCs Operations
Gasoline combustion Research alternative fuel emissions (biofuels) and engine upgrades to further ozone depletion methods by the year 2020. TBA Operations
Gasoline combustion Explore hybrids or electric vehicles to replace or deplete the usage of non-revenue vehicles by 2016. CO2, HFCs Operations
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Enroll and work with the Ohio Green Fleet to validate emissions and bring awareness to all emission reduction/new technology efforts (Enrolled 8/19/10). CO2, HFCs Operations
Non-revenue Vehicles Reduce and track the number of non-revenue vehicles trips and usage. CO2 OMB

Fugitive Emissions

Type of Emissions

Lead

Equipment repairs/replacements Use more CFCs and HCFCs as sustainable alternatives when replacing refrigerant based equipment. CFC, HCFC Operations
Fugitive emissions from air conditioning equipment Reduce Hydro fluorocarbons by maintaining and installing leak type refrigerant installations to trap GHG emissions; develop more maintenance checks; reduce energy use. HFCs Operations
Fugitive emissions of natural gas from facilities Reduce Methane by maintaining and installing leak type refrigerant installations to trap GHG emissions; develop more maintenance checks; reduce energy use. CH4 Operations
Leakages from electrical equipment Reduce Sulfur Hexafluoride by maintaining and installing leak type refrigerants installations to trap GHG emissions; develop more maintenance checks; reduce energy use. SF6 Operations
Leakages from refrigerants Reduce Hydro fluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons by installing leak type refrigerants installations to trap GHG emissions; develop more maintenance checks; reduce energy use consumption. HFCs, PFCs Operations

Stationary Combustions

Type of Emissions

Lead

Direct emissions from boilers Report carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides and methane emittants related to boiler stationary combustions; establish nominal thermal efficiency methods. CO2, N2O Operations
Direct emissions from furnaces Report carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides and methane emittants related to boiler stationary combustions establish nominal thermal efficiency methods. CO2, N2O, CH4 Operations
Direct emissions from on-site generations Report carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides and methane emittants related to boiler stationary combustions establish nominal thermal efficiency methods. CO2, N2O, CH4 Operations

Solid Waste

Type of Emissions

Lead

Food/Beverage Vending Phase out vending products with packaging that are non-recyclable; phase out foods that are non-nutritional. CO2, CH4 Finance/Procurement
Food/Packaging Encourage employees to bring reusable containers vs. bi-metals and food packaging, plastic bags, aluminum foil, etc. and others that will increase our waste disposal. CO2 All
Mix Office Paper Reduce biogenic types of waste including paper, office supply packaging, etc., to save front end operating costs. CO2 All
Reduce Junk & Bulk Mailings (Catalogs; vendor and supplies; others) Eliminate junkmail by asking employees to request electronic mailings and catalogues vs. paper products to reduce waste collection. CO2, CH4 All
Solid Waste (Office/Facility) Plan of action to reduce waste to energy (WTE) with all products, materials and food. CO2, CH4 All
Solid Waste (Office/Facility) Reduce waste disposal to in turn reduce transporting of waste collection. CO2, CH4 All
Solid Waste Emissions Report fuels consumed by tons of materials; and carbon co-efficient of each fuel combusted and emitted (GHG) due to transport. CO2 EPM/Sustainability Coordinator
Supply/Product Packaging Reduce the purchasing of products where packaging is not biodegradable. CO2 Finance / Procurement
Waste Collection Dispose of all recyclable items in proper and specified bins. CO2, CH4 All

Recycling

Type of Emissions

Lead

Composting Food Compost specified food products in proper and specified bin to avoid landfill disposal. CO2 All
Recycling Paper/Post consumer products As recycling paper contract comes to an end arrange to include this effort with our overall recycling contract to reduce transportation trips, save GHG emissions and use of multiple recovery facilities. CO2 FA/Procurement
Recycling Solid Waste Include the following items as part of agency wide recycling program: Plastics (HDPE, LDPE, PET), cardboard, glass, tires, wood palettes for landfill diversion efforts. CO2, CH4 All
Recycling Solid Waste Emissions Report fuels consumed by tons of materials; and carbon co-efficient of each fuel combusted and emitted (GHG) due to transport. CO2, CH4, N2O EPM/SC

Green Procurements

Type of Emissions

Lead

Certified Green Products/Materials - Source Registry Develop a certified sustainable source registry for products/materials. CO2 Procurement
Copy Paper Consider other disposal and recycling options from current paper collection contract; develop internal reduction and disposal program. CO2 FA / Procurement
Procurement Proposals Include procurement sustainability statement, practices and requirements in all small purchasing RFPs, IFBs, etc. CO2 Procurement
Procurement Purchasing Reduced the impacts of products purchased including delivery miles. CO2 Procurement
Procurement Purchasing Work toward increasing products with high recycled content for new purchases. CO2 Procurement
Recycling Consider the type of packaging for an item before purchasing to avoid waste disposal and/or request take back packaging option. CO2 Procurement

Construction

Type of Emission

Lead

Construction Job Site Provide clear signage that post policies and sustainable practices for workers, visitors and deliveries on construction sites. - EPM
Construction Job Site Reduce electricity use in construction office/trailer by using fluorescent bulbs, powering off computers daily, etc. (see RTA Office policies). CO2, CH4, N2O, NOx EPM
Equipment Use proper size equipment for the job site and project. CO2 EPM
Equipment Minimize/reduce idling times for construction equipment to 3 minutes and no more than 5. CO2 EPM
Equipment/Fuel Emissions Use low fuel carbon emissions for construction equipment; use alternative fuels for generators such as propane, solar or electrical power as appropriate. CO2 EPM
Procurement Use locally sourced or recycled materials for construction materials as available (goal 20%) based on costs of building material (wood products should be certified as sustainable from a forestry program.) CO2, CH4, N2O, NOx EPM
Procurement Add policies in the RFP for material requirement for sustainability including (ie. energy efficiencies, green products, processes, dumping, etc.) CO2 EPM
Recycling/Solid Waste Containers at Job Site Monitor and report tonnage collected and types of disposal for landfill diversion. CO2, CH4, N2O, NOx EPM
Recycling/Solid Waste Containers at Job Site Place proper containers and front loaders in areas to recycle products and materials; Recycle or salvage non-hazardous construction and demolition debris. CO2, CH4, N2O, NOx EPM
Sustainable Commuting Encourage public transit, carpools, and bicycling for construction worker commutes. CO2 EPM

Building Renovations/Maintenance

Type of Emissions

Lead

Building Maintenance/Systems Set building systems to most efficient performance levels (HVAC, thermostats, boilers, etc.) to reduce emissions and energy costs. - Operations
Building Renovations/Maintenance Budget permitted, renovate facilities that require 100% replacement of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and replacement of 50% of all non shell areas (interior walls, doors, floor covering and ceiling systems) CO2, HFC, PFC, S6 EPM / Operations
Building Systems/Renovations Ensure energy efficiency requirements are adhered to with an annual 25% consumption savings goal for all renovated facilities. CO2, HFC, PFC, S6 EPM / Operations
Building/Energy Efficiencies Evaluate and change as appropriate current processes to promote development and operation of sustainable buildings. - Operations
Energy/Energy Efficiencies Create a list of sustainable measures at each operating facility to be included in carbon management and life cycle cost analysis plan. CO2, HFC, PFC, S6

EPM / Sustainability

Coordinator

Water Conservation

Type of Emissions

Lead
Education Awareness Provide water saving tips that employees can accomplish at operational facilities. CO2 Sustainability Coordinator
Stormwater Mg/Recycling Develop natural stormwater management procedures to incorporate rain barrels and cisterns at our operating facilities as a water recycling effort for vehicle and shelter wash; landscape irrigation. CO2 EPM
Water Audit Monitor and track employee water use and pressure systems at all operating and transit facilities for long-term water conservation. CO2, HFC, PFC, S6 OMB
Water Audit Set benchmarks regarding volumes of water used by facility per sq. ft (gallons). CO2 OMB / Operations
Water Conservation Employees "Refill" water with reusable bottles vs. using bottle water; Avoid using or disposing plastic bottles. CO2 All

Employee Education/Health & Wellness

Type of Emissions

Lead

Employee Education Develop mandatory workshops to introduce program overview to employees to increase their awareness and knowledge of sustainability as it relates to health & wellness. - -
Employee Education Develop mandatory workshops to introduce program overview to employees to increase their awareness and knowledge of sustainability. - HR
Employee Education/Reuse/Solid Waste Introduce Reusable Program to educate employees about waste reduction and reusable products; Mandatory bring a mug to all internal meetings to avoid use of waste products; for visitors GCRTA will provide reusable cups and/or post consumer recycled cups, plates, etc. CO2, CH4 SC
Employee Performance Add sustainability as part of employee evaluation forms. - HR
Employee Performance Recognize accomplishments and achievements of employees. - EMT
Employee Training/Video Videotape educational training for recycling, electronic filing, turn-off electricity modes for employee learning tools. - HR

Green Building/LEED & Green Road Certifications

Type of Emissions

Lead

Green Building Design Develop design standard manual for existing operating facilities. CO2 EPM
Green Road Certification Achieve transportation system design and construction certification. CO2 EPM
LEED Energy Efficiency Ensure energy efficiency requirements are adhered to with an annual 35% savings for all renovated and new facilities. CO2 EPM
LEED Energy Efficiency Redesign facilities to meet and/or exceed Silver level rating requirements under LEED. CO2 EPM
LEED Energy Efficiency Improve energy efficiencies in existing buildings by using all available and appropriate LEED and green building corrective methods. CO2 EPM

Business Travel/Sustainable Travel

Type of Emissions

Lead

Business Travel Administration/Forms Add sustainable travel on all travel forms where revenue, non-revenue and other travel use can be identified and quantified for emissions. CO2 Audit
Business Travel Administration/Forms Add sustainable measurement on business travel forms to show that emissions were reduced for entire trip (transport option; hotel; etc). CO2 Audit
Travel Reduction Reduce and discourage the need for multiple trips to meeting by using alternative options such as Skype, web cams, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, etc. to reduce GHG emissions. CO2 FA / SC

Social Responsibility

Type of Emissions

Lead

Environmental laws, Regulations and Compliance Requirements All air pollutants, water discharges, etc. permits are in compliance, tracked and maintained. CO2 LA
Marketing/Outreach Install APTA Sustainability logos or design Environmental/Climate logo for revenue vehicles. - Marketing
Marketing/Outreach Design and display sustainability and green achievement posters on our vehicles as an educational outreach/marketing effort. - Marketing

Sustainable Technology

Type of Emissions

Lead

Environmental Management System Purchase environmental management software to globally track and quantify emissions. - FA / EPM
Software Management Review current or purchase software as a means to share files vs. printing documents. - FA

 

Principles

RTA Guiding Principles for a Sustainable Operations

  • Identify and establish sustainable objectives and goals;
  • Add targets for cost savings from each sustainable area of focus;
  • Initiate employee training for an ISO 14001 environmental management system;
  • Provide a framework for developing sustainable procedures and initiatives;
  • Communicate awareness to all employees stakeholders;
  • Develop an agency-wide culture of sustainability;
  • Measure and report annually on the indicators to track progress toward improved sustainability.

AREAS OF FOCUS - OBJECTIVES

Accompanying each area is a set of objectives that outline the actions necessary for achieving RTA's sustainability goals throughout our operation. Each area will have an assigned management representative who will be responsible for the implementation and annual reporting to the Office of Sustainability.

Transportation

As part of our effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, RTA will pursue the following objectives:

  • Avoid physically traveling to meetings where alternatives are available and practical, such as teleconferencing, video conferencing, or web cams;
  • Reduce the need for multiple and frequent travel to local meetings;
  • Reduce the use of non-revenue vehicles for short and unnecessary trips (ie., with trips less than 15 miles, employees should use public transit vs. non-revenue automobile usage as appropriate and within reason);
  • Identify and implement sustainable alternatives for non-revenue vehicle use where appropriate;
  • Purchase or lease all future company vehicles with the lowest available emission standards within their particular class;
  • Establishing and enforcing our idling and fuel efficiencies policies for revenue/non-revenue vehicles;
  • Establish a program to continuously green our vehicle fleet;
  • Add an emissions recording metric on employee traveling forms to monitor impact and cost savings.
  • Establish ozone depletion strategies under the GWP (Global Warming Potential) scale.

RTA encourages sustainable modes of transportation and recognizes the need to balance the demands of pedestrians and cyclists in and around its transit centers, facilities and shelters to promote link trips. To adhere to this goal, RTA will pursue the following objectives:

  • Collaborate and coordinate with other community agencies and groups to encourage the use of sustainable modes of public transportation;
  • Provide high density development/land use near transit stations;
  • Provide amenities to encourage link trips to our public transportation system (i.e. bicycle racks, shelters, enhanced waiting environments and pedestrian-priority access) around facilities and shelters;
  • Provide educational awareness to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety in and around transit centers, rapid stations and bus shelters.

Energy

RTA is committed to reducing its energy consumption, implementing conservation programs, and promoting energy efficiency. To adhere to this goal, RTA will pursue the following objectives:

  • Provide tools, procedures and information regarding best practices to promote energy conservation at the Authority;
  • Implement energy conservation programs to engage employees to practice energy efficiency;
  • Minimize the impact of the energy use by supporting alternative energy sources.

Waste

RTA is committed to minimizing the amount of waste generated at all operating facilities and public use sites. To adhere to this goal, RTA will pursue the following objectives:

  • Minimize the amount of waste generated;
  • Introduce a Zero Waste@ Work program for 100 percent landfill diversion by 2016;
  • Maximize the proportion of waste recycled when reduce and reused options have been exhausted;
  • Plan and coordinate office and facility initiatives to reduce waste consumption;
  • Encourage the use of tap water vs. bottle water to reduce plastic bottle use;
  • Ensure that products purchased may be recycled by our waste management provider and ensure that recycling is widely available at all operating facilities and public sites;
  • Develop and implement effective programs and practices that support the above objectives toward landfill diversion.

Water

RTA recognizes that fresh water is a non-renewable resource that needs to be conserved. We will pursue the following objectives for long-term water conservation:

  • Analyze employee water use and pressure systems;
  • Invest in metering systems to gauge usage and replace inefficient fixtures;
  • Reduce the quantity of water used and waste water produced at operating facilities;
  • Initiate more efficient methods of cleaning and fire sprinkler maintenance;
  • Reduce water pressure (or install pressure reducing valves) as needed;
  • Employ natural storm water management procedures: impervious paving and other mitigation, corrective actions as part of our renovation and new construction facility projects;
  • Reduce landscape irrigation needs by planting native and drought-resistant species for all landscape and green space sites;
  • Invest in automatic flush mechanisms on restrooms toilets;
  • Invest in infrared/sonic sensors on restroom faucets;
  • Implement water-recycling programs to use rainwater for future landscape irrigation where possible.

Recycling

RTA will promote landfill diversion to preserve the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the following recycling objectives:

  • Incorporate recycling bins and containers at all operating facilities to appropriately dispose of the following:
    • Plastic items #1-7:
    • PET 01 (Soft drink, water, peanut butter and jams jars)
    • PE-HD 02 (Milk, juice and water bottles; trash bags)
    • PVC 3 (Juice bottles; PVC Piping)
    • PE-LD 04 (Squeezable bottles)
    • PP 05 reusable microwave able ware; kitchenware, yogurt containers
    • PS 06 Disposable cups, plates, trays, take-away containers
    • 07 (Beverage bottles)
    • Other
    • Corrugated Cardboard
    • Glass
    • Aluminum/tin cans (Bi-metals; Aluminum foil)
    • Composting (food items)
    • Wood Palettes
    • Remaining Waste & refuse collection (minimum waste)
    • Phase out the use of virgin paper and adopt a minimum standard of 100% Post Consumer Waste (PCW) recycled content paper for all office supplies;
    • For uncut paper uses, including but not limited to janitorial supplies, adopt a standard of 100% PCW recycled content paper;
    • Recycle all electronic waste in a responsible manner and disposed of at approved regeneration or recycling facilities.

Procurement/Supplies

RTA is committed to the procurement of products and services that minimize negative environmental impacts and emphasize long-term values. The following procurement objectives will be fully developed to help RTA establish environmentally responsible purchasing and service initiatives by:

  • Reducing the impact of products purchased including product miles;
  • Consider the amount of packaging on an item before purchasing it (over packaging creates waste for the Authority);
  • Purchasing items in large, economy size and use concentrates mixed in reusable containers;
  • Avoiding the purchase of disposable products;
  • Purchasing durable goods and products that have a long life expectancy;
  • Where possible, purchase reusable products and attempt to extend the lifecycle of goods where appropriate;
  • Improving inventory control throughout the agency including a central supply program for certain products;
  • Establishing sustainable proposal policies to be added to all RFPs and IFBs (ie proposals for bids sent on 100% recyclable paper, double-sided hard copies, set maximum page limits, and with reduced number of hard copies, etc.)
  • Include a copy of our Sustainability Policy in all of our proposals to vendors, suppliers and consultants;
  • Establishing a "Green Seal Certified Products" listing as part of a procurement source registry;
  • Negotiating better pricing for commodities with recycled content as compares to products without recycled content;
  • Working toward increasing procurements of products with high recycled contents;
  • Conducting vendor and DBE workshops for current and future vendors about our environmentally responsible procurement initiatives (ie., products, packaging, value, biodegradable; non-toxic; 100% post-consumer recycled material, recyclable and reusable, construction site disposal methods);
  • Include extra points under the evaluation criteria section for companies who will deliver sustainable services and products to the Authority;
  • Incorporating an effective end-of-life recycling program into each commodity as applicable;
  • Develop a program with our suppliers to establish re-use or recycling “take-backs” at no extra cost toward waste disposal (packaging, containers, etc.).

Health & Well-Being /Working Environment

RTA understands that our employees are integral components to maintaining sustainability. To ensure a high level of investment into human resources, we will pursue the following objectives:

  • Reduce the impact of emissions/toxins from office equipment;
  • Promote programs, groups and departments which support all areas of personal health and well-being including smoking cessation, weight loss, healthy eating habits, etc.;
  • Recognize accomplishments and achievements of our employees.

Employee Educational and Awareness

RTA recognizes its role as a sustainable organization and is committed to promoting awareness and education, as well as engaging the community in the collective responsibility to implement this policy. To adhere to this principle, we will pursue the following objectives:

  • Provide employees with opportunities to increase their awareness and knowledge of sustainability;
  • Promote leadership roles among individuals from a variety of levels that provide support toward sustainable initiatives;
  • Promote education, training and research across all divisions and departments;
  • Coordinate and cooperate with educational groups, organizations, institutions, and surrounding communities pursuing sustainable programs and initiatives;
  • Participate with community and environmental awareness programs.
Projects

Solar Shelters:

A concept drawing of a solar shelter designed by Solar Impact, Inc.

In September 2011, two solar shelters were designed and installed by Solar Impact, Inc., as part of a joint community project with the City of Cleveland Heights. The new shelters replaced the bus shelters at the Mayfield Road-Coventry and Mayfield-Warrensville Center Road stops.

Public Art Recycling Bins:

Artist Ignacio Ciocchini designed public art recycling bins as part of a Transit Waiting Environment, Call to Artist solicitation. The bins will be installed at GCRTA rail platforms at selected stations on the Red, Blue, and Green Lines. A total of 30 bins (10 sets) will be utilized by GCRTA customers.

New York, NY Artist Ignacio Ciochinni was selected by the RTA’s Arts in Transit Committee as the winner of the Public Art Recycling Bin – Call to Artist solicitation in 2010. Thirty bins were installed throughout the Red Line Rapid Transit Line, starting at Tower City in July 2011.

 

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