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B&T Cleaner and Brighter Agency Thanks To Green Efforts

<p>MTA Bridges &amp; Tunnels is continuing to become a cleaner, greener and brighter agency. By reducing paper consumption, switching to alternative fuels, recycling, installing energy-saving LED lights and buying certified "green" cleaning agents, the agency has reduced the amount of greenhouse gases into the air by nearly 1.6 million pounds, or 19 percent since 2006.</p>
<p>In 2008, the agency began replacing the old 100-watt mercury vapor lights on its four suspended span bridges with high-efficiency light-emitting diode, or LED, fixtures. The new LED lights, which help reduce the amount of electricity needed to power the necklace lights by about 75 percent, are brighter and also last longer than ordinary mercury lights. This means less maintenance for B&amp;T and fewer roadway closures to disrupt traffic for motorists. Mercury lights last about two years as compared to seven years for the LED lights.</p>
<p>B&amp;T maintenance crews completed the installation of 190-new LED lights, just in time for Earth Day 2011. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridges' 262 necklace lights were changed under a project completed in 2009. The Throgs Neck Bridge's 104 necklace lights will be changed beginning this summer and 190 lights on the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge in 2013.</p>
<p>B&amp;T also started buying green cleaning products that have the EcoLogo or Green Seal of approval, which means there is little or no impact on the environment. "One of our larger maintenance cleaning tasks is tunnel washing and because of the large amounts of soap and water used, it seemed like an obvious choice for evaluating a green product," said Patrick Parisi, Bridges &amp; Tunnels Chief Maintenance Officer and head of the agency's sustainability efforts.</p>
<p>In the past, different products were used to wash tunnel walls or clean toll booths and toll booth lanes, but the new "green" cleaner now being used can remove grime, soot and grease away from all three.</p>
<p>Paper consumption at the agency has also been reduced by more than 4.25 million sheets since 2006 through a variety of methods including sharing printers, electronically distributing reports and using double-sided printing. To get an idea of how much paper this is, if it was neatly stacked it would be twice the height of the 693-foot tall Verrazano-Narrows Bridge towers.</p>
<p>Other green initiatives included expanding the alternative fuel program, buying fuel flex cars when replacements are needed, recycling 418.5 tons of mixed paper, 209 tons of plastic and nearly 84 tons of metal, and participating in New York City's Million Trees campaign to plant and care for new trees. Since 2009, Bridges &amp; Tunnels has planted 76 new ginko, tupelo, redbud, zelkova, linden, planetree and oak trees near its crossings and will add another 24 this year. </p>
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