City of Williams Lake
City shows that idling reduction can achieve results, even in a cold climate
In March of 2006, the City of Williams Lake (E3 Fleet Charter Member) decided to take a leadership role to improve air quality and help prevent further climate change. An idle reduction policy was endorsed by City Council for the fleet to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and smog causing pollutants. Meetings were held with public works staff to discuss the idle free policy and strategies and ideas were brought forward from all staff on ways to reduce idle times with very positive responses. Idle Free signs were installed at City Hall, Public Works Yard and Recreation Complex.
The City of Williams Lake fleet consists of 65 units including automotive, light trucks, heavy duty trucks and heavy duty equipment such as back-hoes, loaders and a motor grader. The heavy use of automotive and light truck gasoline vehicles is in the summer season while higher usage of the heavy duty trucks and equipment is throughout the winter snow season.
Past practice of idling vehicles and equipment, some for extended periods of time, has been eliminated. Fuel consumption comparisons since inception of the program are showing an average fuel saving of 20% over last year. Results on a few units were as high as 50%. Reductions in maintenance costs have also been realized on average by 20% with fewer services and less equipment downtime as a result. The City of Williams Lake is just completing installation of a new fuel storage and dispensing system in the Public Works yard to allow for improved fuel management and increased fuel storage for more cost effective bulk deliveries.
The capital cost to implement the program was very modest. Most of the light trucks are specified and purchased with dual battery systems. This allows for several hours of emergency lighting operation on the auxiliary battery without running down the main starting battery. All new lighting installations are of the latest LED technology and rather than incurring the high cost of changing over the entire fleet.
The City of Williams Lake is right sizing its fleet and City Council has committed to purchasing hybrid vehicles whenever operationally possible. The City added one Toyota Highlander and two Honda Civic Hybrids to their fleet. Hybrid pickups will be added as soon as models are available that suit the City's requirements. This will be an exciting addition to the fleet, especially in and around environmentally sensitive parks.
Hybrid vehicles are great friends of the environment as they offer exceptional fuel efficiency and incredibly low emissions with a savings of 40% as compared to their older predecessors. The hybrids also complement the idle reduction policy as they have an automatic idle stop feature and an innovative air conditioning system using an electric compressor to keep the occupants comfortable when the engine is stopped.
The City of Williams Lake received a BC Government rebate of $2,000 on the purchase of each hybrid vehicle, as well as $2,000 from Transport Canada's EcoAuto Program.
In an area of British Columbia impacted by a changing climate - including the devastating infestation of forests by the pine beetle - the City of Williams Lake has shown that even simple actions like turning off the key can have dramatic results.
Download a free E3 Fleet idling reduction calculator.
Check out Idle Free BC for more resources and information on idling reduction.