Mount Auburn Cemetery Supports 100% Renewable Energy
Did you know that Mount Auburn Cemetery runs on renewable energy? No, there isn’t a full scale photovoltaic array set up on any of the roofs although there is a residential-sized solar hot water system at the Preservation Services Building. Nor is there a wind turbine, geothermal or a biogas system installed anywhere. Instead, Mount Auburn purchases Green-e® certified renewable energy credits (RECs) through Renewable Choice Energy. In 2013, Mount Auburn purchased 475,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of RECs – the equivalent number of kWh used in all of Mount Auburn’s buildings throughout the year. Renewable Choice Energy explains:
“Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are a nationwide market mechanism that represents the environmental benefits associated with generating electricity from renewable energy sources. A wind farm is credited with one renewable energy credit (REC) for every 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity it produces. A certifying agency gives each REC a unique identification number to make sure it doesn’t get double-counted. The clean energy is then fed into the national electric grid. RECs are the industry standard for accounting for renewable energy product.”
Mount Auburn’s commitment to offsetting 100% of its electrical usage by purchasing RECs helps to prevent the emission of 531,458 lbs. of CO2 into the atmosphere, roughly the equivalent of removing 50 cars from the road for the year. Alternatively, these purchased RECs are equivalent to the carbon offset achieved with over 2,100 fully mature trees. Speaking of trees, Mount Auburn has over 5,000 trees and 6,000 shrubs of its own. This woody plant collection goes a long way toward offsetting other fossil fuel emissions from the fleet of vehicles and turf equipment.
At least one of our vendors purchases RECs too. Mount Auburn’s website “runs on” renewable energy. Our web hosting provider, pair Networks, operating out of Pittsburgh, PA, offsets 100% of their electricity use with RECs for renewable energy. It has been calculated that pair Networks commitment to sustainability is equivalent to planting 30,919 mature trees on an annual basis.
Mount Auburn continues to manage all aspects of the 175 acres more sustainably by:
* reducing energy consumption
* creating a healthy office environment
* recycling paper, plastics and glass
* managing a landscape with zero-waste
* inspiring an earth friendly employee culture
* eliminating bottled water in the office buildings
* reducing emissions from the fleet of vehicles, and
* doing business with like-minded companies that share values on sustainability.
By purchasing RECs, Mount Auburn and other corporations are making positive environmental impacts by increasing the demand for renewable energy in this country, and promoting further development of clean energy sources.
This article was co-authored by by Gus Fraser, Rich Snow, and Candace Currie.
Gus Fraser is the Director of Preservation and Facilities.
Rich Snow is the Director of Information Technology.
Candace Currie is the Director of Planning and Sustainability.
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