Hybrid Refuse and Recycling Collection Vehicles for Oberlin Public Works Department

Summary: In the spring of 2014, the Green EDGE Fund officially approved a sustainability grant of $30,000 to support the City of Oberlin’s investment in hybrid technology for their new refuse and recycling collection vehicles. Three vehicles needed to be purchased, but it remained unclear whether the City of Oberlin would approve an additional $100,000 for each of the three vehicles to equip them with hybrid hydraulic drive systems. In order to support and incentivize this investment, the Green EDGE Fund approved a $10,000 award for each vehicle purchased with the hybrid technology. Evan Tincknell served as project manager for this proposal. Oberlin City Council has since approved the purchase of all three vehicles with hybrid hydraulic drive systems.

Background Premise: Early in 2014, the City of Oberlin Public Works Department’s entire fleet of refuse and recycling collection vehicles was destroyed in a fire at the storage facility. In the immediate aftermath, the City was forced to rent replacement vehicles at exorbitant prices. Two replacement vehicles were purchased in April of 2014, and three additional vehicles awaited approval from City Council in May of 2014. It remained unclear whether investment in the hybrid hydraulic drive systems would be supported. The Public Works Department was in the process of applying for additional grant funding, and claimed that any financial support would help sway City Council’s decision to fund the remaining expenses.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: The hybrid technology nearly doubles the fuel economy for each vehicle on which it is installed, resulting in 45% improved fuel efficiency. Although this funding is being made to support efficiency technology with clear calculable payback, it is not an efficiency loan. While the improved fuel economy will reduce fuel consumption by 2,200 gallons/year and corresponding CO2 emissions by 230 MT/year, the investment is not expected to reach 100% financial payback. The Green EDGE Fund supports the implementation of technology that promotes efficiency and sustainability regardless of financial payback, and has offered this grant to show support for the City of Oberlin and efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.