Energy roundtable celebrates Brightfields solar project

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Image from Brightfields
Image from Brightfields

The Energy & Sustainability Leaders Roundtable marked its third year late last week by celebrating the completion of a 176-panel solar energy system installed at the Wilmington headquarters of BrightFields, Inc. BrightFields is an environmental consulting firm.

The Energy & Sustainability Leaders Roundtable is a membership-based forum created in June of 2012 to engage the business and development community in reducing members’ energy use and minimizing their environmental and carbon footprints, according to a release.

BrightFields Chief Financial Officer Don Short, who also served as manager of the solar project, said the decision to install panels on the roof of their 15,000 square foot building in Wilmington’s 7th Street Peninsula is consistent with the firm’s environmental stewardship charter and grew out of the company’s connection to the roundtable.

Short said BrightFields has already established a recycling program and an on-site vegetable garden, completed building improvements that have already reduced electricity consumption.

Andrea Kreiner, who coordinates the quarterly meetings of the Energy & Sustainability Leaders Roundtable, said BrightFields decision to invest in energy sustainability was encouraged by the business, development and government representatives of the roundtable. She said the group shares information about their respective energy reduction achievements or their plans regarding the future sustainability of their facilities.

The solar panel system at BrightFields will replace about 25 percent of the company’s current electric purchases and save about 137,000 pounds per year of carbon dioxide emissions. He said excess energy produced will be “sold back” to Delmarva Power as a credit through an Interconnection Agreement.

As a result of the Delaware Green Energy Grant, the Federal Tax Credit and SREC sales, the system should pay for itself in about six years, Short said. SRECs are Solar Renewable Energy Credits.

Partners on the BrightFields solar project included local businesses KW Solar, United Electric Supply, Nickle Electrical Companies, and Delmarva Power.

Other examples of energy and sustainability initiatives by Roundtable members include:

AstraZenenca The Wilmington Campus
energy efficiency and conservation initiatives were numerous. Improvements included paper, plastics and metal recycling; building automation including stop/start optimization and reduced outside air during non-business hours; lighting controls including lighting occupancy sensors that moderate HVAC temperatures; variable-frequency drives utilized on HVAC and chilled water/hot water systems; planned induction lighting in parking garages; a renewable energy (solar) system and compostable cups in the cafeteria.

Barclaycard US, Wilmington
– The company began an energy efficiency project in December of 2013 at its Dryrock Facility at 125 South West Street in Wilmington.

Results will include a sizable reduction in both electricity and natural gas consumption at the site. Barclaycard will reduce its 28% in Barclaycard’s electricity consumption by 28 percent and natural gas consumpgtion by 68 percent.

Barclaycard partnered with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control on this project and was awarded a $70,750 grant from the Delaware Energy Efficiency Investment Fund.

Seiberlich Trane – The energy services company associated with the heating and air conditiopning manufacturer. worked with WhiteOptics, LLC, a provider of highly reflective, highly diffuse white reflector products for LED and fluorescent lighting, in a custom lighting retrofit project for the entire IM Pei-designed building at 1105 N. Market Street in Wilmington.

The goal of the project was to reduce electricity consumption by more than 50 percent without compromising light levels.

WhiteOptics engineers designed a custom lighting reflector. With the addition of the custom built reflectors, Seiberlich Trane was then able to remove two 32-watt fluorescent lamps from each fixture and replace them with only one 28-watt lamp, reducing electricity consumption by 56 percent at the landmark office building in downtown.

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