ND workers use "trikes" as a way to go green

By: Frank Waugh Email
By: Frank Waugh Email

Going green is becoming more common place. Some people change light bulbs, some people drive hybrids, and some even trade vehicles for pedal power.

Notre Dame Building Controls Supervisor Rich Warner says, “It is so difficult to maneuver around campus for people to do service work for the university, parking is such a premium. This gave us an alternative way of getting around. I have found that I can get to a building for a service call on my 'trike' faster than if I used my truck.”

"Trikes" are replacing trucks. Warner is part of the "Trike Team," a voluntary group of utility workers that are making service calls, on three wheels.

“It’s another neat step that utilities is doing, we have taken many steps to reducing the carbon footprint for the university and the environment,” said Warner.

Do not be fooled by the leprechaun bell, these are not toys. These machines can top out at 20 miles per hour thanks to the three speeds. They also come equipped with disk brakes, a speedometer and, of course, a big toolbox.

“I've got my notebook in here. I have got the pipe wrenches, parts for working on steam valves, extra tools and fittings. Usually you set yourself up on the job you know you are going to go and you take what you need,” said Warner.

These tricycles are the latest way to go green on campus. The Department of Sustainability has made a big green push over the last two years.

Heather Tonk, Director of Sustainability, said, “We have purchased hybrids for the fleet. We have brought the zip car to campus this fall. We have purchased some smart cars on campus to see if they are more gas friendly.”

Tonk also says that one of the departments focus areas is reducing the transportation carbon footprint.

“The tricycles, this is an excellent opportunity. Utilities actually had the idea and came to us both to help with the parking situation on campus and allow the employees to get around easier, and it has a great impact when you then take vehicles off the road,” said Tonk.

Warner said, “Each little small step that we do all adds up into where it makes an impact. It is fun and it makes you feel good too.”

Currently, the Utilities Department is the only department using this alternative transportation but Tonk says that other departments are also looking into the idea.

Warner says he has logged over 128 miles on campus and he has even lost a few pounds since he started pedaling.

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