Moving toward green motion


An original, UVM-made national certification program is helping transportation companies stay green while saving them green.

The eRating certification, created by UVM Extension’s outreach program, allows companies to reduce emissions, maintain and increase vehicle efficiency and ultimately save money.

In August 2012, UVM Extension launched the Certification for Sustainable Transportation.

Their mission is to  “help improve economic, environmental, and energy efficiency within the passenger transportation sector,” according to their website.

The program offers research-based educational programs, according to the website.

They offer a vehicle-based eRating certification and a driver certification, which teaches drivers techniques to increase efficiency by decreasing idle time and reducing sudden accelerations.

“We are concerned about community development, sustainable business and providing sustainable solutions to environmental issues such as climate change,” said David Kestenbaum, director of Certification for Sustainable Transportation.

“Just like an Energy Star label might help a consumer identify the most efficient appliance for their kitchen, the eRating program helps them choose the most sustainable vehicles and ways to travel,” he said.

Kestenbaum said the eRating certification program incentivises private sector transportation companies to become more environmentally conscious.     After attaining certification, “companies would earn a leaf, which is a level of recognition,” he  said.

Instead of rating a company subjectively, the program uses an algorithm to measure the “use of low-emissions technology, alternative fuels and greenhouse gas emissions calculated per passenger mile,” according to the Certification for Sustainable Transportation.

However, in order to even gain recognition, “the vehicle must be at least 50 percent more efficient than the national standard. My Prius, for instance, wouldn’t qualify,” Kestenbaum said.

Once a company becomes certified, the consumer “can have a better understanding of the most environmentally sensitive transportation programs,” according to the Certification for Sustainable Transportation.

For now, the program primarily works with  bus companies, perhaps the most sustainable vehicle on the road, Kestenbaum said.

“Buses are an extremely efficient way of moving people. Megabus averages 369 passenger miles per gallon, which is 89.5 percent more efficient than our system is as a whole,” Kestenbaum said.