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Summit features green transit

Anna Boarini | Wednesday, February 29, 2012

As a continuation of Notre Dame’s commitment to sustainability, the fifth annual Green Summit showcased a trade show focused on green transportation, said Sara Brown, program and intern director for the Office of Sustainability.

“Transportation is something we get a lot of questions about in the community,” she said. “It is something we want to get people talking about, whether it is human powered transportation, hybrid fuels and electric cars or public transportation.”

The summit, which took place in the Stepan Center on Wednesday, featured various purveyors of green transportation, including bicycle shops and car dealerships that distribute electric and hybrid cars.

Brown said the event gave students and the rest of the Notre Dame community more information about green transportation than they might otherwise have access to.

“This event is a great way to show examples of what the University is making strides (in) and the options students have after graduation,” she said. “It spans what you can use today and what is offered after you graduate.”

John Hall, owner of Avenue Bike Station in South Bend, said riding a bike is a popular form of green transportation.  He said he strives to make his store sustainable, recycling salvageable parts of bikes restored at the shop.

“At our shop, we don’t believe in throwing much of anything away,” he said. “We recycle what we can [when restoring bikes] and replace what needs to be replaced.”

The Transpo bus system offers students another green way of travelling.

Jeanette Panceast, a Transpo representative, said public transportation offers people an easy and efficient way to live more sustainably.

“Public transportation is very green and our new building is LEED certified,” she said. “We are also trying to make our routes more efficient by decreasing stops to designated stops only, which will help save fuel.”

Transpo switches to a hybrid fuel blend to cut down bus emissions, Transpo representative Mike Stahy said.

“We use a B-5 and B-20 hybrid soy ethanol mix with the diesel,” he said. 

McCormick Motors in Nappanee, Ind., sells the Chevy Volt, an innovative electric car. Bernie Beer, McCormick’s principal dealer, said the Volt promotes green living by eliminating the need for gasoline.

“We’ve got about 1,800 miles on [the showroom model] and so far, we have only used 5 gallons of gas,” Beer said. “That comes out to roughly 300 miles to a gallon.”

Beer said owning an electric car adds the same amount of electricity needed to run a refrigerator to his electricity bill.

Along with selling green vehicles, McCormick Motors is committed to being sustainable, vice president Gordon Moore said.

“Since 1998, we have recycled or used 10,000 gallons of liquid waste, and had an annual reduction of 62 tons of solid waste sent to land fills,” he said.