Taking steps to reduce our footprint
Operations & Maintenance of ACE
For more than a decade, the Herzog Transit Systems Incorporated (HTSI) mechanical department has worked to develop maintenance procedures that utilize ground power whenever available, which permits ACE diesel-powered equipment to be shut down to facilitate servicing and repair. This results in the following:
Reduced fuel consumption and emissions.
Extended life, and thus the reliability of some very expensive rotating components.
A reduction in the maintenance-related noise pollution our employees and neighbors are subjected to.
Instead of purchasing one-gallon plastic containers of distilled water, which is used to service the emergency batteries in each passenger car and locomotive, Herzog installed a deionization system that conditions tap water for this task. This not only reduces the cost of this product but also eliminates recycling plastic containers.
In addition to the above, we comply with the Hazardous Material Management Plan of the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Service (OES) and the San Joaquin Environmental Health Department (SJEHD) regarding dumping and recycling. These two agencies are bound by policies of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.
We also comply with all State (CalOSHA) and Federal (EPA) programs and policies regarding the disposal of any waste that has the potential to pollute. Finally, we partner with the Union Pacific Railroad whenever possible, to recycle as one organization instead of two. This eliminates redundant permit and disposal fees associated with these programs.
Spotlight on Herzog Employees
Something seemingly small can lead to energy and cost savings. For Jeff Carvalho, manager of equipment and facilities for Herzog Transit Services, Inc. which operates and maintains the ACE rail service for the San Joaquin (Ca.) Regional Rail Commission, it was a barricade light that caught his eye for having potential to go green.
These flashing blue lights — required by the Federal Railroad Administration for safety purposes in maintenance facilities — were powered by two six-volt batteries that had to be replaced about every eight days, Carvalho says. Not even taking into consideration the environmental impact of this process, it took time to replace the batteries and all the maintenance added up. "We looked for a solar-powered light and found one made in Canada by Carmanah."
The solar light, originally manufactured for the marine industry for use on buoys or docks, included a toggle switch, which they asked the company to modify to a hidden magnetic switch to prevent the possibility of it being switched off by rail yard trespassers. The new solar-powered light has an internal battery that holds a charge for up to 14 days and has a life expectancy of a minimum of five to eight years.
When Carvalho did a cost analysis of the two lights, he found that the original barricade light cost the company $2,800 dollars over five years, while the new solar light cost $175 for the same period of time.
John Sanchez, Manager of Materials, regularly researches new technologies which have the potential to offer reduced cost and/or increase component reliability. One example of this is the auxiliary lights (ditch lights) used on the front of each locomotive and cab car. Essentially a giant headlight asked to operate in a very harsh environment, the older versions were incandescent and subject to frequent failure. These have been replaced on all ACE equipment with a newer halogen version that is not only much brighter and therefore safer for our passengers and employees but reduces maintenance time by lasting much longer.
The ACE Rail Maintenance Facility
The 85.6 million dollar maintenance facility opened its doors on time and on budget on March 22, 2014. The 157,000- square-foot, state of the art facility is located on a 64 acre lot and was designed to incorporate a variety of sustainable features including 1,100 solar photovoltaic panels that provide 20% of the building’s power, specialized window shades that follow the sun, and a 102,000-gallon rain harvest tank as part of the reclaimed and reused water system. The facility was the first in the country to achieve LEED Silver certification from Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design.
ACE is performing emissions and fuel consumption testing, which should provide the agency with empirical data as to the benefits (reduced emissions, cleaner burning, etc.) versus cost factor of the biodiesel product being used in the ACE fleet.
If you're interested in fuel emissions testing, we recommend these calculators: