Green Power! On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented us with a 2009 Green Power Leadership Award for our commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market. This is a significant achievement for Applied, as we were one of only three organizations nationwide to receive an award for on-site generation of green power. Specifically, we were recognized for our generation of 3.2 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually using on-site solar power at our California and Texas facilities. We also purchase more than 31 million kWh of green power annually, and all together use nearly 35 million kWh of green power. In total, the company uses enough green power in the U.S. to meet more than 15 percent of its electricity use – the equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of nearly 5,000 passenger vehicles per year.
In California in particular, we have nearly 8,000 high efficiency panels on the roofs of two buildings as well as on an extensive series of car ports. I believe this solar array is still the largest single one in the Bay Area and when first completed, was the largest on an existing corporate campus in North America. I feel good about the company every time I drive by the solar array on my way into work. The array was sized to take advantage of our space … and to be larger than an array at a certain Silicon Valley neighbor of ours. That’s how corporate decisions are sometimes made and we hope that other companies will follow our lead, leapfrog us and install even bigger solar photovoltaic arrays.
Why are awards important? First, highlighting notable projects and initiatives is a way of spreading the word about what companies are doing and encouraging others to follow suit. I know I am constantly scanning the news to see what other leading companies are up to in the sustainability area. Second, and perhaps a little more obscure, awards help build internal support for future projects. Executives are people too (that would be great on a tee-shirt!) and they naturally respond to positive feedback on the projects they authorize. Let me know what you think about these types of awards. Green power!