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Bus Canopy Project Helps District Sustainability Plan

cutting the ribbon

Salt Lake City School District is celebrating the completion of new canopies in the district bus yard, and with those canopies come several advances in the district’s sustainability efforts.  

  • The facility is equipped with four Level-2 16.8 kW EV charging stations for the four all-electric buses the district is currently using. 
  • There are two Level-3 100 kW EV charging stations with two charging ports per pedestal and underground electrical infrastructure is in place for one additional 100 kW dual charging station. These will be used for the additional four full-size electric buses the district has ordered. 
  • The center canopy has 500 solar panels, producing 200 kW of electricity. From an environmental standpoint, this will have the same greenhouse gas emissions reduction impact as taking 40 passenger vehicles off the road. 
  • The electrical wiring is in place to install a second 200kW array on the west canopy.  
  • Lighting was changed to more efficient LED fixtures from metal halide with automated controls. Most of the new lights are under the canopy improving the Dark Sky compliance of the site. 
  • The outdated underground fuel tank and canopy were replaced with a new above-ground fuel tank. The new fuel island canopy will provide better weather protection and is equipped with new LED lights. 
  • All canopies have three wireless access points for increased data collection for the bus fleet, and camera systems were added to the canopies to increase security.  

The district has adopted a plan to achieve 100% clean-renewable electricity by 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2040. Students from three district high schools collaborated to create a Sustainability Resolution that was presented to and approved unanimously by the Salt Lake City School District Board of Education. The resolution addresses concerns such as climate warming trends likely due to human activities, the detrimental effects of climate change through increased temperatures, poor air quality, changes in water systems, increased wildfires, extreme weather events, and other environmental disruptions. 

Salt Lake City School District is the first school district in Utah to integrate electric school buses into its fleet. Through a partnership with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Air Quality (DAQ), the district used the Volkswagen Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust to help purchase the four electric buses and charging equipment the district is currently using. Another four full-size electric buses are expected to arrive in November 2021 and will be funded in part through the DAQ’s Utah Clean Diesel grant program. 

The district is expecting to receive $180,000 from the Rocky Mountain Blue Sky program to go towards the cost of installing the 200 kW solar array on the top of the center bus canopy.