While the grounds department keeps the Quad lawn green every spring, the department started keeping itself green as well.
The Grounds Department has been using a Global Electronic Motorcar (GEM) utility vehicle for the past school year as part of the college’s Green Initiative to help the college reduce carbon emissions.
According to Ken Kolmodin, director of facilities and operations, the GEM is an electric, plug-in vehicle that requires no gasoline or oil. Albion’s GEM model has nine 8-volt gel batteries and can travel between 27 and 42 miles on a single charge.
“We were originally budgeted to get a fleet of three over a three year period,” Kolmodin said. “GEMs are unique as service vehicles because they are licensed and road legal while our other service vehicles are not.”
According to Mark Frevor, director of grounds, the GEM cost $14,500 and is intended to provide an alternative option for the grounds crew as opposed to the normal vehicles.
“I researched different vehicles and looked into Club Cars and electric Gators,” Frevor said. “The GEM charges overnight, and because it’s licensed for the road, we can drive it anywhere across campus, even up to Family Fare if we wanted.”
Eventually, Frevor would like to see the entire grounds fleet become more fuel efficient.
“Ideally, it’d be nice if all our fleet vehicles could use natural gas conversion or propane conversion engines,” Frevor said. “The conversion for all vehicles to be fuel efficient will take time, but the process starts with vehicles like the GEM.”
Grounds is not the only department using the GEMs. According to Ken Snyder, director of campus safety, the campus safety department recently purchased a GEM. The GEM is expected to arrive this week and campus safety will be using the vehicle for student transportation services.