Every day is “Earth Day” at Sound Transit

Publish Date

Sustainability goals incorporated into all agency activities; major construction projects recycle/reuse more than 1 million tons of materials

Sound Transit celebrates Earth Day 2011 with major mass transportation expansion projects underway that will make it easier for millions to travel more efficiently across the Puget Sound region. Along the way, Sound Transit contractors salvage and recycle as much construction material as possible.

Sound Transit incorporates extensive salvage and recycling goals in all major capital projects. Contractors have recycled or salvaged more than 1 million tons of materials while clearing and excavating the University of Washington and Capitol Hill station sites for the University Link light rail expansion.

"We take our environmental stewardship responsibilities seriously," said Ahmad Fazel, Sound Transit Director of Design, Engineering and Construction Management. "We look for ways to reuse, recycle and cut waste from day one of any project."

Some examples of materials salvaged, reused or recycled from the University Link project include:

  • 126,000 tons of soils
  • 18,000 tons of concrete
  • 983 tons of asphalt
  • 96 tons of scrap metal

Sound Transit has set similar goals for the North Link light rail expansion, which is in final design and will begin construction in spring 2012. Contractors will be required to recycle a minimum of 75 percent of construction debris. Prior to demolition, local salvage contractors will go through all the buildings at Brooklyn and Roosevelt and salvage materials such as doors, windows, fixtures and flooring.

At Roosevelt Station, Sound Transit has hired a consultant, Nickel Brothers, to advertise four townhouse buildings as available for sale and relocation. If a buyer is found, Nickel Brothers will then move the buildings.

These salvage and recycling efforts reflect the agency's ongoing sustainability initiatives that have gained international recognition.

Accomplishments outlined in the agency's 2010 Sustainability Progress Report include:

  • Installing new electric wayside power units for Sounder locomotives at the Everett Sounder Station. These units allow the Sounder trains to maintain heat and power during layovers without burning diesel fuel
  • Reducing non-revenue fleet fuel consumption by 15%
  • Reducing energy use at Union Station by 8%
  • Increasing bicycle parking at current Sound Transit facilities by 150 spaces
  • Implementing ecosystem restoration projects
  • Incorporating sustainable design into agency design guidelines and standards

For 2011, Sound Transit will continue to advance the agency's Sustainability Initiative by focusing its efforts on 31 sustainability targets including:

  • Developing and implementing a long-term strategic plan for the Sustainability Initiative
  • Purchasing at least 21 hybrid replacement buses
  • Developing an Energy Management Strategy for Sound Transit properties to reduce energy consumption
  • Reducing Sounder fuel consumption by 1.5%
  • Applying sustainable design criteria at each phase of Link light rail expansion

The full 2010 Sustainability Progress Report and list of 2011 targets are available at