Emeryville – It’s not often that solving global warming is thought of as an economic investment. But in California, businesses and organizations, like Clif Bar, are doing just that—embracing clean energy solutions as a way to reap near-term economic returns, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“We don’t think you can have an authentic sustainability program if you’re not addressing your contribution to climate change,” said Elysa Hammond, Director of Environmental Stewardship at Clif Bar. “It’s the mother of all environmental issues.”
Cutting global warming pollution can be good for local businesses, governments, and nonprofits, according to a new report by Environment California Research & Policy Center entitled, Greening the Bottom Line 2012: California Companies Save Money by Reducing Global Warming Pollution. The report highlights eight businesses and other institutions that have made groundbreaking progress in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainable practices that dramatically reduce their contributions to global warming while also helping their bottom lines.
“Solving global warming and strengthening our economy are two sides of the same coin,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, Clean Energy and Global Warming Program Director at Environment California Research & Policy Center and co-author of new report. “The experience of California companies flies in the face of claims that California’s leadership on solving global warming is bad for business.”
At Clif Bar, a well-known organic food and drink companies, several sustainable energy strategies are reducing pollution and strengthening the bottom line. For example, the company uses recyclable paperboard for its packaging materials. Additionally, Clif Bar’s headquarters building was renovated to LEED Platinum standards, and it features a 531-kilowatt “smart solar” rooftop array that provides 70 percent of the building’s power and hot water needs. The result is over $145,000 in savings and a reduction of 8.7 million pounds of carbon dioxide in 2010 alone.
“ The bottom line is, California’s businesses can change the way they use energy and, in the process, realize measurable financial savings, improve competitiveness and create jobs,” said Assembly member Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley).
The new report shows that organizations of all different types and sizes can take advantage of clean energy innovations, no matter where they are located in the state. Other institutions highlighted in the report include:
- Marine Corps Air Station Miramar installed a landfill gas plant, solar arrays, and various efficiency projects that reduce annual energy bills by over $820,000 and offset the equivalent of 250 million pounds of carbon dioxide each year.
- Anheuser-Busch brewery in Fairfield added a 1.5 MW wind turbine to cut 6 million pounds of pollution annually and save $1.6 million over 20 years.
- Gills Onions in Oxnard has an on-site energy system that converts onion waste to electricity. Along with some other clean energy initiatives, Gills is saving $800,000 and reducing 4 million pounds carbon dioxide per year.
- Golden Valley Unified School District equipped its Madera campuses with solar panels that supply 80% of the district’s electricity needs, saving $250,000 by 2017.
- San Mateo Community College, Sonoma County YMCA and the Marine Corps Camp Pendleton are also profiled in the report.
“We admire Clif Bar for their openness to innovation,” said Gary Gerber, President and CEO of Sun Light and Power. “They have teamed with their landlord to install this solar system, and they have been the first company to build a 500+ kW project using Tigo Maximizers, one of the very latest PV system efficiency technologies.”
Environment California Research & Policy Center is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization focused on protecting California’s air, water and open spaces. For more information, visit www.environmentcaliforniacenter.org.