Lower Merion School District – Ardmore, Pennsylvania
2004 – present
Compressed Natural Gas School Bus Fleet and Two Fueling Stations
Lower Merion School District, known for being the high school where Kobe Bryant played right before he joined the NBA, is also famous in the alternative fuel world as the original CNG school bus fleet on the East Coast. An early adopter of CNG vehicle technology, the District has been running clean fueled buses since 1996, with approximately seventy-six units and two fueling stations in operation. The District was doing great on its own, and had won grants, awards, been highlighted by the national Clean Cities program, and its staff had been expert speakers at numerous national conferences. As time went by, the Transportation Supervisor Mike Andre had his hands full with operational and organizational issues, concentrating on keeping the fleet going! He was too busy to keep an eye out for grant opportunities, and did not relish writing and administering them. He wasn’t able to attend every alternative fuel meeting, and had not been to the national conferences in a few years, since being a speaker at the events.
The District was buying buses on a regular basis, which presented a compelling funding opportunity. Station components needed replacement, and eventually two new CNG stations were built which replaced the originals at Lower Merion and Harriton High Schools. Clean Fuels Consulting has assisted the District since 2004, and has successfully prepared grant applications which have won recognition from the US Department of Energy’s State Energy Program (SEP) and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Alternative Fuel Incentive Grant program (AFIG). Funds were gained for a total of 43 new buses, with grants totaling $745,600 since 2009. Over the years, other grants were received to assist with the original stations’ upgrading of electronic systems and replace fuel dispensers ($142,000). The team is now working to see how the VW Settlement Funds might impact the fleet profile and add to natural gas school bus fleet.
Clean Fuels Consulting also assisted the District with planning for a solar energy project at one of its elementary schools, and the energy efficiency upgrades for lighting and motion sensors throughout its facilities. “Clean Fuels Consulting has helped the District save taxpayer dollars by gaining grant funds for things we HAD to buy. These were necessary projects,” says Mike Andre. “Courtney is familiar with our programs and environmental goals. She keeps an eye out for any funding opportunity that fits with our needs, and lets us know right away if a good one is out there. With winning these grants, it’s all about being prepared and ready to go to capitalize on the opportunity.”
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