This October the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the Golden Gate National Recreation Area for significantly reducing the park’s carbon footprint in 2015. Deborah Jordan, EPA’s Acting Deputy Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, presented the Federal Green Challenge award at a renewable energy workshop at Fort Mason in San Francisco.
“The Golden Gate National Recreation Area has made impressive progress towards its goal of becoming a carbon neutral park,” said Ms. Jordan. “Through a combination of solar installations and strategic energy purchasing, nearly 100 percent of its annual energy use comes from renewable sources.”
“We hope to use our efforts as an example not only for other national parks but also for our visitors and the surrounding community,” said Aaron Roth, Acting Superintendent, Golden Gate Natural Recreation Area. “In this way we hope to amplify our impact and do our part to turn the tide against climate change.”
Golden Gate National Recreation Area is one of the largest national parks in an urban environment, with more than 1,200 historic buildings and 80,000 acres in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The park has been an MCE Deep Green customer since 2011, and recently joined San Francisco Public Utility Commission’s “SuperGreen” program in 2016. Through these non-profit programs, available to all service area customers, the park purchases 100% renewable energy for all of its buildings.
The park also installed solar panels atop its Fort Mason headquarters, hiding them from view to maintain the historic character of the building. On Alcatraz Island, which has no connection to the power grid, the park’s solar panels generate half of the annual energy used on the island.
The Federal Green Challenge, launched by EPA in 2012, invites federal facilities to lead by example in reducing their environmental impact. Participants commit to reducing their environmental footprint by five percent or more in at least two target areas: water, waste, energy, electronics, transportation, and purchasing.
Over 290 federal facilities across the nation are taking steps to reduce pollution, support renewable energy, and operate more efficiently. Last year, participants saved more than $21 million across natural gas, fuel oil, paper purchasing, water, and waste reduction categories. The resulting reduction in greenhouse gases is equivalent to taking more than 518,000 passenger vehicles off the road.
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