PPA has been working the last few years on reducing our organization's carbon footprint.
An online analysis by TerraPass, a leading carbon offset calculator, indicates that we generate approximately 79 tons of CO2 per year from our buildings and our car travel from commuting and work-related events (this does not calculate our emissions generated from activities like printing, food, etc.)
Some steps PPA has taken to reduce our carbon footprint include:
Adaptive Reuse: PPA's headquarters at the historic Bishop Farmstead is perhaps our best example of energy efficiency! Preservation of existing/historic buildings saves energy by taking advantage of the nonrecoverable energy embodied in an existing building and extending the use of it. We have adapted a 1753 farmhouse for our offices and a 1930s barn for storage (and future programming).
Energy Audit: PPA had a basic energy audit performed in 2008 by a member of the US Green Building Council-NJ Chapter. The results provide a general plan for upgrades to our facility that we hope to incrementally achieve in the future. Insulation of ductwork and doors has already begun, as has an analysis of office equipment using a Kill A Watt meter, resulting in more conscious efforts to turn off and "sleep" our office equipment. Any future office equipment purchases will be energy-star rated.
Paper: PPA uses 100% post-consumer recycled paper for the bulk of our printing, including this newsletter, our letterhead, and other regular publications. Brochures and other non-standard print jobs generally use 30% post-consumer recycled content. Staff print double-sided copies, and reuse scrap paper and old envelopes where possible.
Lighting: PPA has used compact fluorescent bulbs in the majority of our lighting fixtures since we moved into our new building in 2004. Lighting upgrades since then have included energy efficient T-12 bulbs in our carriage house.
Heating & Cooling: increased efficiency by insulating most of our baseboard heating pipes, hot water pipes, and air conditioning ducts. We also removed an ineffcient water cooler, and now use filtered tap water instead.
Recycling: all office paper, newspaper and cardboard, as well as metal and plastic cans and bottles, are recycled through curbside progra sponsored by Burlington County Office of Solid Waste & Recycling.
On-demand hot water: Our conference center has on on-demand hot water heater, which greatly reduces the energy used to heat the water for dishwasher and kitchen use.
Purchase of Clean Power: PPA purchases renewable energy credits ("green tags") for 100% of our main office's electricity usage. The product mix, purchased from Community Energy, includes 50% wind, 1% NJ Solar, and 49% low-impact hydroelectric. PPA has been enrolled in this program since February 2006.
On-site renewables: PPA has obtained quotes for both solar and geo-thermal systems in the last 2 years. Current economic conditions have precluded us from moving forward with either, but the goal remains to install renewable production in the future.
Challenges for 2012:
Eliminate bottled water from events
Drive less/carpool more
Switch to 100% recycled for envelopes
In the future, PPA will periodically reexamine our efforts to reduce our carbon emissions and inform our members of our efforts.
May 2011 Update: We recently put a new 5,200 sq ft roof on our barn. The insulation is 1/4" thick and has an R value of 8-10. The roofing is corragated metal with a thickness of 26 gauge. Life expectancy of the roof is 40+ years. The additional insulation will help make the building more habitable in the colder months. The color of the roof is a very light shade of silver, which will help with cooling the barn in summer by increasing reflectivity of the sun's rays.
We have also recently received a grant from the Gardinier Environmental Fund to conduct an energy audit and LEED certification assessment of the property. Our goal is to achieve LEED certification for the farmhouse by the end of 2013. We'll have more information on the results later this year.
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