Tomorrow, the WMATA board will hear about the agency’s sustainability initiatives. Sustainability could make a big difference in the budget.

According to a November memo to the board, more efficient lighting in parking garages could save $1.5 million per year. Doing the same for stations and tunnels could save $5 million to $8 million per year. New lights also generate more light and need less maintenance than the old.

Lighting isn’t the only way that being green could help get rid of the red ink and improve operations at the same time.

Many escalators around the world stop when they’re not being used and have more efficient motors than Metro’s aging escalators. Solar panels or solar laminates could cover the roofs of Metro railyards, maintenance facilities, and garages.

Other transit agencies have trained operators to accelerate and brake more fuel-efficiently. Many have installed tire pressure gauges that actively and constantly communicate tire air pressure data to maintenance facilities. That lets them keep buses at optimum tire pressure and fuel efficiency, which saves significant fuel. Fuel is a very large cost item in Metro’s budget, especially with fuel prices rising.

[Continue reading David Alpert’s post at Greater Greater Washington.]

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.