Get on the Green Bus!

by David Kestenbaum

The next time you see a motorcoach along one of our scenic Vermont roads, take a second look—you may spot a "Green Coach Certified" bus. Distinguished by green leaf labels designed to recognize companies for environmental stewardship, these buses are part of a pilot program on ecolabeling in the passenger transportation sector. Researchers at the University of Vermont are working with the American Bus Association, the United Motorcoach Association, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Smartway Program to implement the Green Coach Certification research initiative (GCC).

A multi-year research program, the GCC has two primary goals: 1) To better understand the interplay of business and environmental concerns among motorcoach operators and consumers, and 2) To develop a publishable set of standards for an eco-labeling program for the motorcoach industry.

Research methods include the development, testing, and evaluation of an 18-month pilot Green Coach Certification program for the motorcoach industry as well as surveys of motorcoach operators and consumers.

During the coming months, you may see the GCC green leaf labels on motorcoaches throughout the country. Over 20 companies from across North America are signing up to participate in the pilot GCC ecolabel program, which began in May 2009. Interested operators are eligible to receive a pilot GCC ecolabel and associated program recognition for motorcoaches complying with at least one of the following criteria:

  1. meeting or exceeding the industry average of 148 passenger miles per gallon,
  2. running an EPA 2007 or 2010 compliant engine,
  3. offsetting carbon emissions by 80 percent through an endorsed carbon-trading program,
  4. running on an alternative fuel such as a blend of Biodiesel,
  5. having a strict, documented, and verifiable energy conservation, anti-idling and recycling program, or
  6. incorporating other emerging environmental technologies as prescribed by the GCC.

Upon completion of the 18-month pilot program, the GCC project will provide a foundation for an environmental certification program for the motorcoach industry and address important research questions regarding eco-labeling in the passenger transportation sector.

To learn more about this research initiative, visit or contact Dave Kestenbaum at (802) 656-9141or