Last week, I began my internship at Capital Metro in Austin! My responsibilities these coming months will be to collect and analyze CapMetro’s data on the facilities’ energy usage (electricity and natural gas), water usage, and waste production. By collaborating with different departments within CapMetro, I have begun to collect the energy data associated with all of CapMetro’s buildings, Park and Ride facilities, and bus stops. I have also begun to analyze and format the data in a way that can be transferred into our Environmental Sustainability Management System (ESMS). Since 2011, CapMetro has implemented an ESMS, which is an environmental management tool that utilizes processes and procedures to help analyze, control, and reduce the environmental impact of CapMetro activities and services, while increasing business and operation efficiency. Essentially, any time CapMetro wants to make environmental improvements to a part of business operations, they must go through the process laid out in the ESMS. This process includes: identifying the specific operation they want to change, explaining how it is damaging to the environment, deciding on specific improvements that can be implemented, developing target goals, and developing a measurement and monitoring system. By using this ESMS, CapMetro has made environmental improvements and significant reductions in operating costs. By using this same system, I hope to organize CapMetro’s energy, water, and waste data onto the ESMS dashboard and begin to develop sustainability plans for certain operational aspects that are using the most resources, or for those aspects that can be easily improved upon for little cost.
No fun pictures yet, but stay tuned for a picture of my glamorous cubicle. Fun fact: it was previously used as a bicycle storage area.
But seriously, I am loving this internship so far. It’s challenging because I have to:
- Collaborate with co-workers to decide on what information is needed,
- Answer the questions at hand by using what data is available to me, and
- Decide how we want to analyze and communicate the data.
Look forward to hearing about all of y’alls internships this semester!