Cal State LA wins statewide award for zero-emission vehicle program

June 18, 2019

By Jillian Beck | Cal State LA News Service

Cal State LA has once again been recognized as a leader in sustainability practices, winning a statewide award for its zero-emission vehicle sharing program.

The university’s Parking and Transportation Services and Cal State LA Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility received a best practice award for sustainable transportation in the 2019 Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Awards competition.

The contest, hosted by the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, recognizes achievements in energy efficiency and sustainability at colleges and universities across California. Cal State LA representatives will present on the winning program at the conference on July 9 at UC Santa Barbara.

“Cal State LA continues to lead the way in introducing innovative alternative transportation options,” said Cal State LA President William A. Covino. “This award underscores our commitment to serving the public good through our sustainability initiatives.”

Cal State LA’s popular shared mobility program includes 10 zero-emission WaiveCar vehicles that are available for students, faculty and staff to use daily within a 30-mile radius of the university.

Commuters can easily leave their cars at home, take public transit to Cal State LA and book a WaiveCar for quick trips off campus for meetings, appointments or other events. The vehicles can be driven at no cost for the first two hours and $5.99 for each additional hour.

The university will be adding five WaiveCar vehicles to its fleet for the start of the fall semester.

The program is a joint initiative between Parking and Transportation Services and the Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, with leadership from Carmen Gachupin, director for parking and transportation services; Michael Dray, fueling facility manager of operations and marketing; and David Blekhman, fueling facility co-founder and professor in the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology.   

The fueling facility was the first in the world to sell hydrogen fuel by the kilogram directly to consumers. Using renewable energy resources, the facility produces fuel for hydrogen vehicles, such as the WaiveCar, which only emit water vapor emissions. The facility is part of the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology.

The statewide honor is the latest recognition for the university’s award-winning sustainability efforts.

A team of Cal State LA students, led by faculty advisor Blekhman, received a 2018 Clean Air Award from the South Coast Air Quality Management District for educating the public about energy efficient vehicles. Cal State LA Facilities, Planning, Design and Construction received a best practice award from the CSU in 2018 for addressing energy efficiency in a retrofitting project of Salazar Hall.

The Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility has also previously won a best practice award in the Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Awards competition.

In April, Cal State LA ended the availability of plastic straws and carryout bags, part of a new California State University system policy that aims to eliminate single-use plastic straws, plastic bags and water bottles on all 23 campuses by 2023. Styrofoam food service items will be phased out by 2021, and the use of single-use plastic water bottles will end in 2023.

Cal State LA has a goal of moving to 90% waste diversion by 2026 and zero waste by 2036. Zero waste means managing products, services and processes to systematically reduce and eventually eliminate the volume of waste and materials, as well as conserve and recover all resources without burning or burying. These thresholds will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with waste sent to landfills.

Cal State LA's Green Revolving Fund provides funding for students, faculty and staff to support projects that promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, waste reduction and other sustainability initiatives that can reduce utilities consumption and generate cost savings.

Photo: One of the WaiveCar vehicles at Cal State LA. (Credit: Cal State LA Parking and Transportation Services)

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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 28,000 students and has more than 245,000 distinguished alumni.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit