Sign up for a GreenRide and cash in

Sign up for GreenRide Connect to find others to ride to work with and carpool. If you sign up by Aug. 26, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a gas gift card.

Want to save money, make new friends and help the planet at the same time? A website called GreenRide Connect, run by Argonne National Laboratory, enables you to locate fellow employees with similar commutes to ride together to and from work. You can also track your cost savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions through the website whether you travel by train, car or bicycle. (You can connect with the site through the Fermilab Sustainability website as well.) Go to the website and sign up by Aug. 26, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $100 gas gift card.

The federal sustainability policy aims to reduce GHG emissions, most notably carbon dioxide. Fermilab unavoidably emits GHGs by using electrical energy and by burning fossil fuels in fleet vehicles, boilers and other equipment. But we also emit carbon dioxide and other GHGs indirectly by driving our cars to work daily. A survey of Fermilab employees in 2011 revealed that the average commute is roughly 30 miles round-trip. At the national average of 25 mpg, that’s 1.2 gallons per day, which translates into emissions equivalent to 22.7 pounds of carbon dioxide. Seventeen hundred employees commuting roughly 250 days per year results in a carbon footprint of nearly 5,000 tons of GHG emissions in a year!

We have more control over our commuting behavior than over many other things in our lives. You could purchase a car with better mileage or move closer to work to lower your carbon footprint, but ride-sharing is a much less burdensome option. The 2011 survey indicated that 35 percent of Fermilab employees are interested in ride-sharing. The problem is finding a driver close to home to share with.

The GreenRide Connect website makes this process much easier and helps track the benefits of ride-sharing. But the site is of no benefit unless it is populated with lots of potential riders. The Fermilab Sustainability Committee and Employee Advisory Group are investigating ways to incentivize our employees to “join up” and try ride-sharing. In addition to the chance to win free gas, carpoolers will have the opportunity to use designated parking spots close to Wilson Hall. So take the first step to reducing our carbon footprint by registering today and greening your commute.

Rod Walton