Green Mountain Energy Sun Club® donates solar-powered golf carts to reduce zoo’s carbon footprint
Philadelphia, PA– Employees at the Philadelphia Zoo can now better serve the thousands of guests who visit each week with the help of 10 new solar-powered golf carts, donated by the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club®. The trams, funded by a $100,000 grant from the Sun Club, enhance the zoo’s existing sustainability initiatives while enabling zoo employees to get around the 42-acre park more quickly and efficiently.
Each solar-powered golf cart can generate enough clean energy to drive more than 1,600 miles annually, which is about the same as driving from the zoo to the Statue of Liberty 16 times! The amount of carbon dioxide emissions avoided by using renewable energy to power the vehicles is like planting 200 trees every year the golf carts are in operation. The use of solar power to charge the golf carts reduces the amount of traditional electricity needed to recharge the vehicles by 50 percent.
“Every non-profit the Sun Club works with is unique, and every sustainability project is different,” said Tony Napolillo, executive director of the Sun Club. “Philadelphia Zoo was chosen to receive this solar donation because of its positive influence in the Philadelphia community and its integrated conservation strategy that includes educational programming, wildlife conservation campaigns and onsite operational sustainability.”
The Sun Club began in 2002 as a program of Green Mountain Energy, the nation’s longest serving renewable energy retailer. Since then, the Sun Club has donated more than $3.8 million to sustainable programs in New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas. Contributions to the Sun Club come from Green Mountain, as well as the company’s residential customers, employees and supporters who believe in the program’s mission to support local non-profit organizations through solar and sustainability projects. In addition to this donation to the zoo, the Sun Club has dedicated solar projects to other non-profits in the Philadelphia area, including Greensgrow Farms, Green Woods Charter School and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) on behalf of local customer contributions.
“The Philadelphia Zoo is an essential part of our community,” said Mike Starck, managing director, Green Mountain Energy. “The implementation of the new solar-powered golf carts affirms the zoo’s commitment to excellence in animal care and to inspiring guests to conservation action. The Philadelphia Zoo is the ideal recipient of a Sun Club donation because they truly lead by example.”
“We’re excited to see how this donation from the Sun Club expands our sustainability initiatives and inspires employees and guests to take steps to protect and preserve the environment,” said Dr. Andrew J. Baker, chief operating officer, Philadelphia Zoo. “We strive to continuously improve energy efficiency at the zoo through energy use management and facility improvements, including the purchase of the new solar-powered golf carts. We’ve set ambitious goals for continuing our sustainability mission through 2018 and look forward to an ongoing relationship with the Sun Club to meet those goals,” Baker added.
With more than 1.35 million annual visitors, the Philadelphia Zoo aims to educate the community, model sustainable practices and provide visitors with tools for taking action to live greener. The zoo’s operational sustainability program includes goals and supporting tactics for managing its environmental footprint in five key areas: continuously improve energy efficiency, reduce and manage greenhouse gas emissions, consistently conserve and reuse water, thoughtfully manage stormwater on site, and conserve resources and avoid the use of hazardous materials through waste diversion and green purchasing.
About Philadelphia Zoo
America’s first zoo and one of the region’s foremost conservation organizations, the Philadelphia Zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. By connecting people with wildlife, the Philadelphia Zoo creates joyful discovery and inspires action for animals and habitats. The Philadelphia region’s leading family destination, the Zoo welcomed more than 1.3 million visitors last year. The Philadelphia Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information on the Philadelphia Zoo, to become a donor, member or to purchase and print tickets online, visit us at www.philadelphiazoo.org. Philadelphia Zoo is a non-smoking facility.
Green Mountain Energy Sun Club®
The Sun Club is a non-profit organization that donates solar power and sustainability projects to other non-profits using contributions from Green Mountain Energy Company, its residential customers and employees, and donors from around the country. Since the program’s founding in 2002, the Sun Club has donated more than $3.8 million to help install over 900 kilowatts of solar power, which has the potential to avoid more than 1.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year. That’s like planting 175 trees every year.
The Sun Club has submitted an application to the IRS for recognition as a tax-exempt organization. However, until the application is approved we will be unable to assure donors that contributions to the Sun Club will be tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes. Contributions made to the Sun Club while the application is pending will qualify if the application is ultimately approved by the IRS (but will not qualify if the application is disallowed).
Green Mountain Energy Company
Green Mountain is the nation’s longest serving renewable energy retailer and believes in using wind, sun and water for good. The company was founded in 1997 with the mission to “change the way power is made.” Green Mountain offers consumers and businesses the choice of cleaner electricity products from renewable sources, as well as carbon offsets and sustainable solutions for businesses. One of Green Mountain’s largest customers is the “world’s most famous office building,” the Empire State Building in New York City. Green Mountain customers have collectively helped avoid more than 37.7 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.