electric busA zero-emission electric bus designed by BYD. (Photos courtesy BYD)

Eco-friendly electric buses hit the road in Tel Aviv

Plus, 5 easy ways you can help your campus become more energy efficient.

Imagine how much your campus’ carbon footprint could be decreased if it switched its shuttles from gas-guzzling vans to electric buses? That’s exactly what Tel Aviv is in the process of doing. Starting in August, Tel Aviv became the first Israeli city to run an electric bus when it started updating its public transit system by replacing its eco-unfriendly fleet with battery-operated buses.

Electric busBYD's electric bus model, currently being used in Tel Aviv.

 The new buses can drive for 155 miles (a typical day’s route) without having to recharge their batteries. Not only do the buses only offer a quieter ride for passengers but they also reduce the amount of fuel used in Tel Aviv’s public transport system by 60 percent. Over the next five years, Dan (Tel Aviv’s bus company) plans to buy 200 electric buses for roughly $114 million. Though it’s a major initial investment, it’s 25 percent less expensive to maintain electric buses than diesel buses over time, so ultimately this green transition can save Tel Aviv money while helping the environment by cutting down on harmful fuel emissions.

BYD buses currently operate in China, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Uruguay, Columbia, and Canada. In the United States, the battery-operated buses will be soon be driven in California.

While your university might not be ready to invest in rechargeable vehicles anytime soon, here are some simple things you can do to make your campus more eco-friendly:

  1. On your next dreaded laundry night, wash your clothes in cold water; it requires less energy to clean your sweats in cold water than in hot.
  2. Use a power strip; your TV eats up electricity when it’s plugged into an outlet even if it’s not in use. Plug it into a surge protector that can be switched off when you leave the room to save energy.
  3. Bring your laptop to take notes in class. Not only will this cut down the agony of deciding which color binder should be assigned to which class, but it’ll also save paper and ink.
  4. Buy CFL (compact fluorescent) light bulbs. They use less energy than normal light bulbs and last much longer.
  5. Hydrate in style. Get a Brita water pitcher for your room and then tote a cool canteen around campus instead of using wasteful plastic water bottles.

And although you can’t follow Tel Aviv’s example directly, unless you have the resources to build a bus, you could always ride your bike instead of hopping onto the cross-campus shuttles to reduce your own carbon footprint.

Check out the Electric Bus in action:

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