Your Green Life: "Project Green Fleet"

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM CDT

School is back in full swing, and that means 6 hundred thousand school buses are back on the roads across the country.

That means drivers should be particularly alert in school zones.

One danger that often gets overlooked is the pollution that comes with increased diesel fueled busses on the road.

Meteorologist Shannon Murphy takes a look at how one company is changing that in, "Your Green Life."

This school year a Minnesota mission known as "Project Green Fleet" is acting to protect the health of students as well as the environment.

It's an initiative being taken on by the Voyageur Bus Company of Duluth.

"They came to us to retrofit several of our buses that are older in the fleet and make them essentially green. The biggest benefit from the project is the pollution control. The odor is a big thing when you are a driver, sitting in that bus all day."

Over half of Minnesota's air pollution is introduced from mobile sources.

Project Green Fleet installs pollution control equipment which reduces these emissions by up to 50 percent.

"We are transporting precious cargo, the people from the new generation that will be taking care of us that will end much healthier"

Only the buses made before 2005 need the retro-fit.

School buses have a short life relative to cars due to their high mileage.

Only 10 percent of Voyageurs buses needed the new filtration system.

While its good for the environment it has hit the fleet pocketbook causing a 2 mile per gallon decrease in fuel efficiency.

"We are looking at it as it is a small price to pay right now even with fuel prices the way they are. It's cleaner. It's safer. It's something that we are willing to pay the little extra."

Newer bus models also moved the rear exhaust pipe to the left side to reduce toxins on the side where children wait.

In Duluth, meteorologist Shannon Murphy, the Northland's NewsCenter.

Project Green Fleet has already retrofitted more than 500 buses and should double that by the end of 2008.