Georgetown students may have seen the Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle buses’ new paint job, but what students may not know is that the buses are now reducing the university’s carbon footprint by using an environmentally friendly biodiesel blend fuel.

“Georgetown continues to look for ways to become more sustainable, and using the biodiesel blend is something we can do at low cost to the university,” Karen Frank, vice president of facilities and student housing, said in a university statement.

The 16 GUTS buses running to Rosslyn and Dupont Circle, which ran on ultra-low sulfur diesel in the past, are now using B20 biodiesel blend. The new fuel is made up of 80 percent petroleum diesel and 20 percent biodiesel and is manufactured from domestically produced oils, such as animal fats or recycled cooking oils. The university vehicles’ engines did not need be converted in order to accommodate the new B20 blend.

“We worked with the Sustainable Action Committee to propose sustainable transportation,” said Kristin Ng (COL ’11), president of EcoAction. “We’re glad they’ve finalized this. It has been in the works for a long time.”

According to a university statement, the university has set the goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2020. As of now, the university is on track to accomplishing this goal, having decreased its footprint by 17 percent within the last three years.

Georgetown has made other changes to become more sustainable. The golf carts used on campus run on electricity. A vehicle used by Georgetown University Outdoor Education runs on 100 percent vegetable oil. The solar array on the roof of the Intercultural Center is the longest running installation of its scale in the country after being built in 1984.

In accordance with Jesuit ideals, a key goal of Georgetown’s sustainability plan is educating the community on the topic.

“The university is trying to educate our community about the importance, at large, of alternative fuel use and set an example in the process,” said James Connor, university fleet manager.”

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