Cleaning The Air and Greening Schools in Austin Texas

Today marks the launch of Drive the Change Austin, a movement created by Austin-based clean tech company, Sabertec, makers of Blade, to clean our air, lower our carbon footprint and improve our fuel efficiency while raising money for the greening of Austin public schools. With partners Keep Austin Beautiful (KAB), Brake Specialists, and Flow Nonfiction, Drive the Change Austin is reaching out to everyone who drives or owns a fleet of vehicles in Austin, inviting them to join the cause, and encouraging them to contribute to its success, thereby keeping Austin on the forefront of environmental action and change.

It is no secret that the air quality and ozone compose one of the biggest issues facing Austin and Central Texas these days, especially during the fast approaching summer months. Emissions from cars and trucks are the largest contributor to ground level ozone, accounting for approximately 60% of ozone forming pollutants including toxic particulate material, (i.e. unburned fuel, soot). Particulate material (PM) air pollution is known to cause grave environmental and human health consequences including acid rain, smog, cancer, asthma, respiratory diseases and even death. Austin residents who reside near highways or exercise alongside Town Lake are at even greater risk due to their proximity to dirty exhaust emitted from passing and idling vehicles.

Blade, a device designed to reduce CO2 emissions and toxic particulate material (PM) from automotive tailpipes while increasing fuel efficiency is the catalyst behind Drive the Change Austin. Blade is the first and only product to show significant CO2 reductions and fuel economy increases in independent, EPA 511 Protocol testing (the EPA standard for aftermarket technologies). It is currently being adopted by city fleets in MA, NY, FL, CO and CA and chauffeured transportation fleets including Austin-based Sedans Incorporated.

Ready to take part in the movement that will Drive the Change in Austin? Blade can be easily installed on cars, SUVs, light duty trucks and hybrids at any of the eight Austin-area Brake Specialists locations for $199 with only a $40 installation cost per Blade. Sabertec has pledged to donate 15% ($30)* of every Blade purchased through Drive the Change Austin to KAB.

"If you have children who live in a big city, you may go into a classroom and see 30, 40 even 50% of the kids on asthma inhalers--this is from toxic particulate material (PM). Every car produces this at an alarming rate and these particles embed themselves into the lungs and never leave. We believe that we can have a very strong impact on air quality, global warming and our dependence on foreign oil, but we need to take a stand. Together with the help of corporate partners in Austin and the community, we can take serious steps today, to make significant change and allow for future generations to benefit in the process, said Bill O'Brien, CEO of Sabertec.

If each of the approximate 567,893 vehicles in Austin were to participate in Drive the Change Austin, Austin would:

  • Reduce its annual vehicle production of carbon dioxide by over 762,593 pounds, which is equivalent to taking 67,335 cars off the road
  • Capture 1.5 Million pounds of toxic particulate material (PM) emissions per year, which is equivalent to a one-inch thick layer of (PM) across 4 football fields
  • Save over $117.7 Million dollars per year that would otherwise be spent on gasoline
  • Raise over $17 Million dollars for the greening of the public schools

"It has always been the mission of KAB to clean, beautify and protect Austin. By partnering with Drive the Change Austin, we ensure that we will not only take serious strides today to improve the air quality of tomorrow, we will make substantial progress with our dearest initiative - environmental education and greening the public schools of Austin," said Brian Block, Executive Director of KAB. Through this program, KAB will utilize the money raised to green public schools, by retrofitting school buses, implementing energy and water conservation technologies, delivering healthy foods and establishing environmental curriculum.

How better to show a community coming together to elicit change than to document it on film. Drive the Change Austin is proud to announce that they are working with Flow Nonfiction (makers of the globally acclaimed documentary film Crawford) to bring this important cause to light. The documentary is slated to premier at Austin's South by Southwest Film Festival in 2010.

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