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Burlington emergency vehicles working on mitigating GHG emissions

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Source: Eva Hoskin

Through the work of the Burlington Public Works Department, installations of IdleRight technology were placed emergency vehicles as a pilot project in the spring of 2016. This technology allows emergency vehicles to stay “on” with the engine turned off, reducing emissions that are released into the atmosphere. 


The technology is called The Havis IdleRight Fuel Management System, which is a “purpose-built idle reduction system designed to allow emergency vehicles to be parked with warning lights flashing continuously while minimizing engine idle time and decreasing fuel consumption,” from the Havis website. 


 There are two vehicles that IdleRight has been installed in, one police cruiser and the fire department assistant chief’s vehicle- a ford explorer. It has paid for itself very rapidly since then; the initial costs were around $500-600 for the unit itself, and involved around $100-200 for the hour and a half installation and labor. The public works department allocated these funds directly from their budget for the sake of experimentation. In addition to the savings on gas that the technology alleviated, it also pushed off certain regular service requirements such as oil changes. The technology also lengthens the life of that certain vehicle as well.


Claude Raineault of Burlington Public Works oversees the project, and states that they would like to expand the project, working IdleRight into more vehicles of their fleet. Doing this would involve taking some time to determine exactly which vehicles are the best candidates, as well as finding enough money to see it through- BPW might start with adding 1 or 2 units each year. 


Claude also mentioned that Sharon, Ontario Regional Police services has installed a similar technology, called the GRIP system. This system is pricier and requires a much longer installation time, but is more versatile with which circumstances it can allow a vehicle to idle.


Claude recommends that any other towns interested in cutting excess idling required by emergency vehicles to look into IdleRight, “it’s definitely worth considering, especially with vehicles just sitting around at a job site with lights on.”


These idle limiters through IdleRight are also available for cars not on emergency vehicle fleets, the technology is easy to be retrofitted and is also available as a manufacturer-installed option for many new cars.