Senior Environmental Planner Leah Boggs joined the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) 17 years ago looking to make an impact at the local level. Now, she is guiding a major initiative to bring more alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure to the metropolitan Washington region.
Boggs previously worked at the U.S. Department of Energy as an engineer, managing the federal energy management program for federal buildings. She graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering. She is currently in the process of earning a Master’s degree in Nutrition from the Maryland University of Integrative Health.
“I like the consensus building and engagement that COG promotes,” said Boggs. “I enjoy helping bring jurisdictions together at COG to think beyond their city or county limits and reach innovative solutions.”
Here are three things you might not know about Boggs’ work that supports COG and its members:
Boggs is managing a regional cooperative purchase of green vehicles and infrastructure, which will save members money through volume buying as well as help the environment.
For the past year, Boggs has been working through the Mid-Atlantic Purchasing Team (MAPT) as it partners with the National Association of Regional Councils on Fleets for the Future – the U.S. Department of Energy award winning project to develop and implement five regional procurements and one national scale procurement for alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure.
For the project, MAPT will use its combined procurement expertise from COG and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council to create a cooperative solicitation for green vehicles and infrastructure for public fleets across the mid-Atlantic region, including participation from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the City of Philadelphia.
The Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council, North Central Texas COG, Pima Association of Governments, and the Mid-America Regional Council, are developing the other four regional cooperative procurements in their respective regions.
The Fleets for the Future project will not only save jurisdictions money, but also help the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, said Boggs. “It’s a win-win for the region and participating jurisdictions.”
Applying her experience working with cooperative contracts and alternative fuel vehicles, Boggs is leading the financial management and member outreach for the project. She is educating stakeholders about the project to gain buy-in from fleet managers to environmental planners. More than 40 public fleets have already expressed interest in joining the contract.
Local, state, and municipal governments; school districts; universities; and public electric and water/wastewater utilities are eligible to participate in the contract. Light, medium, and heavy duty vehicles as well as plug-in electric vehicles, compressed natural gas, propane, and ethanol fuel types are covered in the cooperative contract.
“Although the project is only in its first year, we are making great strides with the cooperative contract for the vehicles,” said Boggs. “The infrastructure piece is more challenging, including the refueling and charging stations because we want to make sure we meet the needs of the participating stakeholders.”
Boggs helped move the District of Columbia’s fleets toward greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
Boggs also led COG’s effort to support the the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment's Greening the Fleet project. The purpose of the project was to develop an inventory of current vehicles and create a comprehensive suite of strategies to help guide large fleets in the District toward greater fuel efficiency and lower air emissions through the adoption of cleaner vehicles.
Along with the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition, the National Association of State Energy Offices, Sustainable Energy Strategies, and other partners, Boggs helped calculate the greenhouse gas emissions and air quality impacts for the existing vehicles and proposed green alternatives for DC-based public and private fleets.
Boggs helped promote energy efficiency in the region’s buildings.
In addition to the Fleets for the Future and the Greening the Fleet projects, Boggs also worked on securing scholarships for local building code officials in 2010 and 2013 by applying for grants through the Energy Foundation to promote efficiency in the region’s building codes.
Through the scholarship, local officials were able to attend the International Code Council’s Conservation Conference and vote on building codes to make residential and commercials buildings in the region more energy efficient. Through her work, more than 150 local government representatives were able to participate in the voting processes.