Management & Operations

WMATA launches plan to cut energy use, boost cost savings

Posted on April 23, 2019

D.C.'s Metro launched a detailed plan to reduce energy usage, cut greenhouse-gas emissions and generate up to $29 million annually in energy and operational cost savings.
METRO Magazine
D.C.'s Metro launched a detailed plan to reduce energy usage, cut greenhouse-gas emissions and generate up to $29 million annually in energy and operational cost savings.
METRO Magazine

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) launched its first-ever Energy Action Plan — a detailed roadmap to reduce energy usage, cut greenhouse-gas emissions and generate up to $29 million annually in energy and operational cost savings.

The five-year initiative is a commitment by WMATA/Metro to invest $65 million from its capital budget by 2025 in energy efficient technology, modernize operations, promote innovation, and reduce operating costs to support a sustainable future. Highlights of the plan:

  • Metro's new Potomac Yard Station is being designed to be the first-ever LEED Certified transit station in the U.S.
  • Metro's new headquarters building, located near L'Enfant Plaza, will be designed to LEED platinum standards, the highest level of energy efficiency and green building.
  • Metro is developing an electric bus deployment strategy to pilot and evaluate the use of electric buses in the fleet.

Fully implemented, the Energy Action Plan is expected to net $16 million annually in energy cost savings and another $13 million in savings on operations and maintenance expenses by 2025.

The net energy savings resulting from the Energy Action Plan are estimated to be the equivalent of taking 35,000 vehicles off the road each year.

Riders can see the environmental benefit of choosing Metro through a new sustainability calculator on the Trip Planner at wmata.com. Each time a rider plans a trip, the results will include information on how much that trip contributes to reducing the region's carbon footprint.

Every trip on Metro keeps cars off the road. By providing nearly one million passenger trips each weekday, Metro provides a sustainable transportation option and each Metrorail trip generates 40% less CO2 than someone driving the same distance alone. The CO2 saved by Metro's ridership each day — 1,110 metric tons — is the equivalent of:

  • Burning 125,000 gallons of gasoline
  • Energy to power 48,500 homes
  • Electricity to charge 140 million cellphones

New technology already being implemented will further reduce energy use and costs. For example, through regenerative braking systems on Metro's new railcars,the transit agency is recovering energy from trains as they decelerate and feeding it back into the traction power system. Metro's net-zero water treatment facility in Largo uses gravity-fed treatment tanks and solar panels to provide the energy necessary to treat water from the tunnels and safely return it to the environment.

New, improved LED trackbed lighting has been installed at 23 underground rail stations with upgrades planned at all 48 stations and additional Metro facilities over the next two years.

These investments in energy efficiency will help the region meet its environmental goals and result in less money spent on energy infrastructure, lower operating costs, and lower emissions consistent with the District of Columbia's Clean Energy Plan.

Fully implemented, the Energy Action Plan is expected to net $16 million annually in energy cost savings and another $13 million in savings on operations and maintenance expenses by 2025.

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