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Fleet team projects

July 7, 2023

A round-up of recent Fleet team collaborations with UVA and community partners

The Facilities Management Fleet team has recently supported multiple team projects to advance sustainability efforts at the University and the larger community.

UVA Renewable Rowing

The Power & Light team installed electric boat chargers on the UVA rowing team’s dock earlier this year.

Facilities Management staff members provided key research and background to support the UVA Renewable Rowing project. This project—developed by Office for Sustainability student worker and Virginia Women's Rowing student-athlete Cameron Bentley—aims to reduce the environmental footprint of the rowing program's equipment and facilities. It includes the installation of approximately 180 solar panels, a boat motor charger and purchase of eight electric motors. Transportations Operations and Fleet Manager Mike Duffy was a key figure in helping to develop this project by supporting research on the environmental impact of gasoline motors, calculating metrics, and providing insight into electric options and the required charging infrastructure. Associate Director of Power & Light Sathish Anabathula and his team also supported the design and installation of the boat motor chargers and proposed solar panel project.

Engineering capstone project

Mike Duffy, Rebecca Dollahite and B. Brian Park
Transportations Operations and Fleet Manager Mike Duffy, UVA Engineering student Rebecca Dollahite and professor B. Brian Park, presented their published paper in the Rotunda's Dome Room this spring.

The Fleet team and the School of Engineering professors and students completed and published their third collaborative capstone project, “Quantifying the Benefits of Mindful Driving Training in Safety and Sustainability.” The paper was presented in the Rotunda's Dome Room by Mike Duffy, student Rebecca Dollahite and professor B. Brian Park. The Fleet team monitors vehicles through the GPS tracking software GeoTab to analyze driver's behaviors to adhere to UVA's 2030 Sustainability Plan. FM started implementing mindful driving training in 2021, which trains specific divisions to be conscious of dangerous and environmentally harmful driving habits. This study investigated FM's 280-plus vehicles in years prior and following participation in the mindful driving training by analyzing the change in idling time, seatbelt usage, hard acceleration, speeding and fuel consumption. The mindful driving training is anticipated to greatly save FM money on fuel and reduce the occurrences of safety-related violations.

New professional certification

Four members of the Fleet team recently completed the American Lung Association Biobased Certified Fleet Professional program, a new resource for fleet and sustainability leaders to learn about the benefits of soy-based products used in fleets, such as hand cleaner, rodent repellant and car wash products. The use of soy-based products improves air quality and supports reduction in carbon emissions. Mike Duffy was the first person in Virginia to complete the program, and Fleet staff Matt Ball, Mike Eldredge, and Devante Dowell completed it shortly after.

Electric vehicle research

The Fleet team supported UVA Housing & Residence Life by providing research and input into the best electric vehicles for their department to purchase earlier this year. In addition, a group of UVA staff from FM, Housing & Residence Life and Recreation, along with local city, county, and staff from Monticello, met with a Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) vendor to help develop an electric UTV that can function across the surrounding area and possibly be used by all of the involved organizations.

About the author

Jane Centofante
Communications senior generalist
UVA Facilities Management
(434) 982-5846