Transurban, a toll road owner-operator with assets and projects in Australia and North America, reduced its energy consumption at its head office in Melbourne by installing energy-saving systems for office lighting, according to the company’s Sustainability Report 2009. Lighting accounts for about 20 percent of total energy use at this site. Upgrades included automated lighting systems with motion sensors in common areas and in all desk areas.
Here are some highlights from the report by Transurban, which has interests in six Australian toll roads (CityLink, Hills M2, Westlink, M7, Eastern Distributor, M4 and M5) and two U.S. toll roads (Pocahontas 895 and Capital Beltway HOT lanes).
In fiscal year (FY) 2009, the company reduced its corporate air travel as part of the company-wide cost reduction program. This resulted in an indirect energy consumption savings of 6.4 GJ and 444.9 tonsCO2-e of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
In FY 2009, Transurban expanded the scope of its GHG emissions data to include Scope 3 emissions from waste generated on CityLink, Hills M2 and the Eastern Distributor. More than 58 percent of its total Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions are produced from the electricity used to power the ventilation systems in the CityLink tunnels.
In late FY09, Transurban ran a six-week trial to reduce ventilation in CityLink’s Domain Tunnel to allow portal emissions at night, thereby reducing electricity usage, according to the report. CityLink’s current EPA Waste Discharge License requires that the tunnels operate with zero portal emissions 24 hours a day.
However, air quality modeling by Transurban showed that ambient air quality would not be adversely affected if emissions were allowed from the tunnel portals at night. The trial confirmed that in-tunnel air quality complied with EPA license limits and outside air quality met State environment protection objectives.
Transurban said it will work with the EPA to have the Waste Discharge License revised to allow the company to operate the ventilation systems under this new regime. The company projects this would reduce GHG emissions on CityLink by approximately 820 tons of CO2-e a year.
Transurban is also working to reduce emissions from construction. As an example, the company aims to make all construction work carbon neutral at its new Southern Link upgrade project, which is part of its M1 upgrade.
Initiatives implemented to reduce the project’s GHG emissions include purchasing construction materials with an increased recycled content such as 100 percent recycled steel reinforcement and 10 to 30 percent recycled asphalt pavement; buying green power for the project office, saving approximately 10 tons of CO2 per month, and sourcing products and construction materials from facilities close to the project site.
Transurban also has identified ways to significantly reduce energy use and GHG emissions through sustainable lighting initiatives along the Southern Link Upgrade roadway. The company has a trial smart-meter lighting project underway. These smart-meter lighting energy controllers (LEC) reduce the voltage of individual roadside lights from 240 volts to 210 volts.
The company says the benefits of the LEC system are environmental, rather than financial, as the long-term cost savings are minimal. Data collected in June 2009 from the trial showed that it had reduced electricity use by approximately 25 percent.
If the two-year trial proves successful, the team will roll the system out to the remainder of CityLink. By 2034, this initiative is expected to reduce 2,370 tons of CO2-e, according to the report.
The company also has reduced its water and paper/packaging use. As an example, the CityLink water recycling plant has saved 1.4 billion liters of Melbourne water since it began operation in October 2003.
As a result of several packaging and paper use reduction initiatives, the company has saved approximately one million pages of paper in FY 2009.