Jenna Bush Hager Advodate For Safe, Quieter & Cleaner Propane School Buses

With back-to-school season now in full swing, parents are super-focused on shopping for school supplies and helping kids adjust from summertime fun to homework. But what about school bus safety? This is something Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush, mom to Mila and Poppy, NBC News correspondent and the founder of UNICEF’s Next Generation, wants parents to think more about.

Jenna Bush Haeger rides propane school bus Boston

To do so, Hager recently partnered with the national nonprofit Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) to share school bus safety tips and create awareness about the safety and environmental benefits of propane autogas school buses.
What inspired you to partner with this nonprofit? Like all parents and teachers, we want to make sure kids get to school safely and that they start their day on the right foot. When I was a teacher in inner city Washington, D.C., we often took buses on field trips and those bus rides were loud because most buses are powered by diesel. The louder the bus, the more kids can’t hear themselves talk so they scream over each other. That and waiting in line while diesel exhaust gets in their faces isn’t the best way to start a day.
What’s a better option? Propane-fueled buses are quieter, our kids can hear themselves talk and they don’t need to scream at each other to be heard. Best of all, propane buses are better for our environment and they save money for schools at a time when budgets are shrinking.
Do most parents even know that there might be a better bus for their kids? Most parents aren’t aware of this. As parents we need to advocate for our children, especially when we’re talking about buses which kids are taking daily around this country. I always recommend taking the time to talk about bus safety, like always sitting down immediately and staying seated throughout the ride. There are lots of tips like this on Betterourbuses.com, an online site sponsored by the Propane Education & Research Council. (A video that features Jenna Bush Hager discussing the benefits of propane autogas school buses can also be found at Betterourbuses.com)
Any suggestions on how to get a school district to invest in propane buses? I always recommend talking to the head of your school district or PTA president. I rode a propane bus in Boston last month and they’re so much quieter. Even better, since the Boston Public Schools started using these buses, they’ve saved $1,000 per day on transportation costs. That adds up

Arizona School District Running 85% Propane Autogas Buses

The Kyrene School District, which serves a portion of Phoenix, now runs 85% of its school bus fleet on propane autogas. The school district started with propane autogas in 2014 when it purchased 25 Blue Bird Vision propane-powered buses, and this school year, the Kyrene School District added 73 more.

“With our Blue Bird propane autogas school bus fleet, our technicians don’t have to worry about the difficulties we encounter when servicing our diesel buses,” says Eric Nethercutt, director of transportation and facilities for the Kyrene School District. “Working with propane is as easy as working on a gasoline engine.”

Equipped with Ford Motor Co.’s 6.8 L V10 engine, the 98 buses are powered by ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel systems. The Blue Bird propane buses will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 56,000 pounds and more than 1,400 pounds of particulate matter each year compared with the diesel buses that were replaced, according to ROUSH CleanTech.

The district’s bus drivers also have a favorable view of the propane autogas buses. “It’s a different driving experience because the bus is so quiet,” adds Nethercutt. “This allows drivers to better interact and talk with students on the bus without competing with a diesel engine.”

Currently, the Kyrene School District averages $1.15 per gallon for propane autogas compared with $1.50 per gallon for diesel. In addition, the school district will benefit from a 36-cents-per-gallon tax rebate provided by the federal government. The school district is working with its propane provider to install an on-site fuel station to further reduce the cost per gallon.

New Propane Mowers Expected to Reduce Mowing Time, Expenses and Carbon Footprint

New propane mowers expected to reduce mowing time, expenses and carbon footprint

With mowing season upon us, City of Knoxville Fleet Services recently added nine propane-powered mowers for the Horticulture division of the Public Service Department to use on 400 acres of parks mowed regularly and an average 1,947 overgrown lots cut by the City annually.

“The use of alternatively fueled machines in the City’s fleet is something we look at more and more for cost reduction, improved services and good environmental stewardship,” said Keith Shields, Director of City Fleet Services. “An added bonus with propane-powered mowers is that we will be using domestic fuel.”

The City sought the advice of the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition (ETCleanFuels) on the purchase of the propane mowers. ETCleanFuels advised the use of the mowers because they offer a reduced carbon footprint through decreased carbon dioxide emissions and a closed-loop fuel system, which prevents gas leaks that are often common in the mowing industry.

 

In case studies of other cities using propane mowers throughout the country, fuel costs have frequently been improved between 20 and 50 per cent.

After testing three propane mowers in 2015, the City purchased the nine Kubota ZP330P-60 mowers for $8,800 each, totaling approximately $79,000, to replace nine gasoline-powered mowers.

“These mowers are a lot more powerful than what the City has had in the past, and that means we will save time and money on manpower,” said Mark Wagner, Horticulture Manager in the City’s Public Service Department.

The mowers, designed to shred and disperse grass clippings as they mow, were delivered this month and are being used by Horticulture crews throughout the City.

“We have very optimistic projections for this new equipment in our fleet and we’re looking forward to reaping the many benefits of our investment,” said Shields

High-efficiency boilers are changing commercial heating

With condensing technology, modulating consumption, and even built-in redundancy, the latest generation of commercial propane space heating and water heating systems offers a leap forward.

By Jeffrey Lee

Staff Writer

Boiler rooms across the country are starting to feel a lot emptier.

Modern propane and gas boilers used for commercial space heating and water heating have been revolutionized over the past 15 to 20 years, shrinking in size and improving in efficiency. The changes are creating the opportunity for businesses to achieve significant energy bills savings in both retrofit and new-construction applications.

"Gone are the days of filling up a huge boiler room with something the size of an Army tank, that lights off at full fire and is just burning gas," says Trey Willbanks, president of Willbanks & Associates, a commercial heating systems equipment and support provider in Texas. "Everybody's looking to go to the condensing, high-efficiency equipment. We're using much smaller, refrigerator-size cabinets, lining them up, and modulating them down. That is absolutely the biggest trend in our industry."

The energy savings come not just from the improved efficiency of the equipment, but also from modern boilers' modulating capabilities. Older boilers essentially operate at one speed, Willbanks says, either full-fire or off. "Now one of my products has 33:1 turndown," he says, referring to the ratio between full boiler output and low fire. "I just did a project where I lined up three 1-million-Btu units and cascaded them. Essentially it's one system with 99:1 turndown. Back in the day, we would have been firing up the full 3 million Btus on every call for heat."


"Any project with older equipment, we can without a doubt pick up 20-plus percent [in cost savings]."


The energy costs savings in those retrofit applications is "phenomenal," Willbanks says. "Any project with older equipment, we can without a doubt pick up 20-plus percent [in cost savings]. There are some applications that are more extreme and we can pick up 50-plus. What we're seeing a lot of is the ability to go in and retrofit equipment and get ROIs that pay for themselves in 1 or 2 years, with the gas savings alone."

The space savings that can be achieved with high-efficiency propane or gas boilers is also an important advantage in new construction applications. Willbanks says his multifamily customers are changing their traditional designs from individual electric water heaters in each unit to a central propane or natural gas boiler system. The central hot water heating systems provide reliability, redundancy, capital and operational savings, and open up space in the units, all appealing options for developers. "If you can pick them up a closet and a few square feet, then that gets their eyes open," he says. "Square feet is dollars for them."

Oil Company, Alternative-Fuel Advocate Promoting Propane

                                               

                                                                               
                       
January 23, 2016 11:00 pm  • 
                   
                   
                       
                                                        
                       
                                                                                   
                               

Lenny Hernoud wants people to know: propane fuel isn’t any more dangerous than gasoline, and it’s much better for the environment.

Of course, convincing drivers to convert their vehicles to use propane instead of, or in addition to, gasoline is Hernoud’s job. He’s the owner of a Lincoln organization that advocates use of alternative fuels, Clean Alternative Fuel and Energy Nebraska.

But there’s another reason he thinks people should consider using propane as fuel for their vehicles.

“Propane is way cheaper right now versus gasoline,” he said.

CAFE Nebraska has partnered with Otte Oil and Propane in Davey to promote conversion of vehicles to propane. Otte Oil also has established four refueling stations for users of propane in Lincoln: Converse Service, 8201 N. 56th St.; Performance 66, 7000 Vine St.; H.I.S. Autocare, 7000 Van Dorn St.; and Hillis 66, 600 South St.

Jake Otte, operations manager for Otte Oil and Propane, said the company also plans to open a propane refueling station in Columbus soon. The company also has begun converting its own fleet and now has 17 vehicles that can use both propane and gasoline, Otte said.

CAFE Nebraska handles conversions for the partnership and has completed more than 20 over the past two years, Hernoud said.

He said it takes 25 to 35 hours per vehicle to complete a conversion. A conversion can cost anywhere from $4,000 for a 4-cylinder vehicle to up to $6,500 for a diesel engine vehicle.

“Just about any vehicle can be done,” he said.

Hernoud also completes conversions that allow vehicles to use compressed natural gas, though he doesn’t recommend it over propane. He said compressed natural gas conversions cost about $4,000 more per vehicle than propane conversions.

That’s largely because fuel storage tanks for compressed natural gas cost more than those for propane.

He said another reason he recommends propane over compressed natural gas is because a tank full of propane will take a driver farther than a tank of compressed natural gas.

In addition, he recommends people convert their vehicles to be able to use both gasoline and an alternative fuel rather than only an alternative fuel.

Drivers with vehicles that can only use an alternative fuel are limited by the number of places they can refuel, as there are fewer refueling stations for alternative-fuel vehicles, Hernoud said.

           
               
           

               

“The bi-fuel is the smarter way to go,” he said. “It doesn’t limit you as much.”

Otte said people wanting to convert their vehicles often can qualify for a rebate from the state, thanks to passage of the Nebraska Clean-burning Motor Fuel Development Act by the Legislature last year. The bill provides rebates to vehicle owners who want to convert their vehicles to use compressed natural gas, propane, liquefied natural gas or hydrogen fuel cells.

The bill provides those vehicle owners the lesser of either $4,500 or 50 percent of the cost of converting their vehicle.

Otte said propane fuel vehicles generate far fewer greenhouse gases than gasoline-powered vehicles and they burn cleaner, which reduces maintenance costs on those vehicles.

He said Otte Oil and Propane serves about 50 customers with alternative fuel vehicles. Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates there are 143,000 vehicles that can run on propane.

“There are more stations opening every day,” he said

DeKalb Central Recognized for Using Propane Buses

                                                

WATERLOO — The DeKalb Central school district has received the Outstanding Achievement in the Deployment of Propane School Buses award from the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

The district transports 900 students daily, driving more than 1 million miles during the school year. It has 64 buses in its fleet, of which three propane buses are currently on the road. The district will add five propane buses at the start of the 2016-2017 school year, replacing five diesel models.

 

NPGF Scholarship Applications Close February 15

Do you have a dependent child attending college or technical college?  Or will they be a High School senior this Fall?  They can apply for an NPGF Scholarship.  To start your application click here or visit our website at http://www.npga.org/scholarship then select the "Apply Online" link.

 

The applications must be completed and all required documents must be received by February 15, 2016.  Successful applicants will be notified by May 2016.  

Do you need flyers to provide your employees or display at your work locations?  Please click here to download and print our current poster.  Brochures are also available for sharing.  If you have questions about the scholarship program or wish to have publication information sent to you please contact Scholarship Foundation Manager, Joanne Casey, at 202-355-1328 or email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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