August

HPU GreenRide aims to increase carpools, lower emissions

August 17, 2012

HPU GreenRide

The HPU GreenRide program makes it easy to find a commuting partner.

HONOLULU – Hawai‘i Pacific University is committed to creating a culture of sustainability, not only on campus but also in the state. As part of continuing efforts to use resources wisely and efficiently — among the principles guiding HPU’s sustainability initiatives — the university has rolled out the new HPU GreenRide program.

Now that O‘ahu’s ZipperLane only requires two riders per car, this is an ideal time to carpool to save time and fuel on the commute. HPU students and employees can take advantage of the GreenRide website, which makes finding a commuting partner simple. This free service is available to those with valid HPU email accounts.

Carpooling can yield significant savings in the amount of fuel used to move the same number of people the same distance, while also cutting down carbon emissions that can affect the environment, said Josh Prigge, HPU’s sustainability coordinator.

The program aims to get people out of using single occupancy vehicles — either by carpooling or finding other ways to commute, he said. Using public transportation or alternate transportation can also reduce those emissions. GreenRide users can also find “buddies” to share in those non-automobile trips to HPU.

The website will also let users see how much they save by sharing a ride to campus.

“What people can do is log their commutes — their carpools, the days that they bike, walk or take public transportation — and the cost calculator will let them know about their emissions reductions and cost savings,” said Prigge.

Users create a profile and find others commuting to HPU who are near them and have similar schedules. The site also allows for privacy protection. “You can create a profile and not be searchable,” he said.

While a short-term goal of users may be to find others to share in the costs of commuting or being able to use quicker-moving, high occupancy vehicle lanes on the freeway, the long-term benefits can be significant.

“Even outside of the environmental factors, when you look at the economy in Hawai‘i, 90 percent of our energy comes from imported oil. We’re the most oil-dependent state in the entire nation. We send about $4 billion a year out of the state for oil, which is about 10 percent of our (gross domestic product).”

The Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative addresses reducing dependence on oil, Prigge said. The goal is 70 percent “clean energy” by 2030. “This (GreenRide program) is something HPU can do to contribute to Hawai‘i’s Clean Energy Initiative.”

For more information about HPU GreenRide, contact Prigge at (808) 566-2491 or jprigge@hpu.edu, or stop by HPU Commuter Services in Sharky’s Cove (MP139) at the Downtown Campus. Visit www.hpugreenride.com.