Pictured at the Oct. 29 awards ceremony in Peoria, Ill., are (l-r): Chris Lyon, assistant to the fleet manager, Forest Preserve District; Michael Webster, fleet manager, Forest Preserve District; David Thomas, interim director, Illinois Sustainable Technology Conference. Photo courtesy of Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

Pictured at the Oct. 29 awards ceremony in Peoria, Ill., are (l-r): Chris Lyon, assistant to the fleet manager, Forest Preserve District; Michael Webster, fleet manager, Forest Preserve District; David Thomas, interim director, Illinois Sustainable Technology Conference. Photo courtesy of Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Ill., was one of the 27 organizations honored with the Governor's Sustainability Award, partially for its fleet greening efforts. The award, given by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), recognizes organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to environmental excellence through sustainability practices.

The ISTC cited the district's role as a steward of more than 25,000 acres of open space, which provides habitat for more than 1,000 native plant and animal species and offers recreational and educational opportunities to 4.3 million visitors each year. It also recognized the district's long-standing dedication to the use of alternative fuels, which has significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions generated by the agency's vehicles and equipment.

The Forest Preserve District enacted a fleet vehicle and equipment sustainability policy in 2001 that states that all gasoline- and diesel-powered on-road vehicles will only be replaced with alternative-fuel-technology vehicles.

Currently, 75 percent of the district's on-road fleet of 178 vehicles runs on alternative fuel or is a hybrid; fuels used include compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas, and E-85 ethanol. Additionally, all diesel off-road equipment and mowers run on B-20 biodiesel. The district continues to convert its over-the-road fleet to the use of alternative fuels, with the goal of attaining 100 percent.

The district also adopted a strict no-idling policy. Additionally, it made several changes to maintenance practices to become more environmentally friendly, such as recycling waste oil, using re-refined oil, using recycled or re-manufactured parts, and using soy- and water-based chemicals when possible.

In calendar-year 2012, the fleet reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 269.52 tons, recycled 810 gallons of waste oil and 14.3 tons of scrap metal, and displaced 49,091 gallons of conventional fuels, Michael Webster, the district's manager of fleet services, told Government Fleet.

The ISTC has presented the Governor's Sustainability Award annually since 1987. Winners are selected through a rigorous examination led by technical experts.

By Thi Dao

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