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Issue 22, July 14, 2014


Partner Spotlight: Steelcase

Steelcase logo

Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan and with nearly 10,000 employees around the world, Steelcase offers a comprehensive portfolio of workplace products, furnishings, and services. A Green Power Partner since July 2001, Steelcase designs for social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

Q. Why did Steelcase decide to use green power? What do you see as the benefits of using green power and what role does it play in your broader business and environmental strategy?

A. Steelcase invests in green power to support the expansion of the renewable energy portfolio around the world. That support translates into lower greenhouse gas emissions of the world's energy systems while enhancing the social and economic benefits provided to local communities. Green power plays a key role in Steelcase's sustainability strategies and our approach to energy. One of our largest environmental impacts comes from the energy that is used in the production of our products and embodied in the materials we purchase, and investing in green power is one way we aim to reduce that impact.

Q. Is Steelcase currently striving to achieve a green power goal and is there a timeframe? What steps are being taken to reach it?

A. In 2014, we reached a large milestone on our green power journey: we purchased renewable energy equivalent to 100 percent of our global electricity use. In the United States, that means Steelcase will be purchasing more than 121 million kilowatt-hours of green power in the form of third-party certified renewable energy certificates from wind energy facilities located in the U.S. that came online in 2011 or later. We celebrate this major accomplishment, but we are not planning to stop there. We will continue to investigate opportunities for on-site renewable energy while continuously improving our global portfolio of renewable energy purchases.

Q. Describe any innovative green power strategies Steelcase has implemented or is planning.

A. Steelcase has been a leader in green power purchasing for more than a decade. Our strategy has evolved significantly, from becoming a founding partner of the EPA's Green Power Partnership in 2001 to becoming the first corporate sole sponsor of a wind farm in the United States a few years later. In 2014, we have increased our green power purchases in the U.S. by almost 300 percent. At the same time, we are offering a one-of-a-kind program incentivizing first-tier suppliers to purchase green power. Our U.S. investment currently makes us the 17th largest 100 percent green power user in EPA's Green Power Partnership.

Q. What are two or three lessons you've learned in making the switch to green power or in increasing your green power use?

A. Two of the most important lessons we learned through the process of increasing our green power use are to stay true to our values and think outside the box to drive impact. For Steelcase, investing in renewable energy is a natural extension of our commitment to operate in a sustainable way. Because of that deep commitment, we were very selective to invest in energy that aligns with our core strategy – investing in newer, non-emitting sources to encourage the growth of the clean, renewable energy portfolio. The second lesson was to explore opportunities to expand our reach. By doing this, we were able to create a one-of-a-kind program to allow suppliers to take advantage of our purchasing discounts. This creates a ripple effect of promoting more investment in renewable energy and helping our suppliers advance their own sustainability objectives.

Q. What advice would you give to other organizations interested in using green power?

A. We would suggest that companies view their green power use as a constantly evolving portfolio. For our company, we have grown in literacy, interest, and investment in green power over time. It has been extremely beneficial to continue to revisit the portfolio year-after-year for possible improvements.

Read more about Steelcase's renewable energy use here.

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Congratulations to Partners Celebrating Their Ten-Year Anniversary with GPP!

Nearly 20 organizations are celebrating at least ten years of partnering with GPP in the second quarter of 2014.

Agriculture & Natural Resources: Lundberg Family Farms (Calif.)
Consulting Services: ERG (Mass.)
Consumer Products: The Joinery (Ore.)
Education (Higher): University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (Wis.)
Education (K-12): Round Rock Independent School District (Texas)
Food & Beverage: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Vt.)
Government (Federal): U.S. Department of Energy (D.C.)
Government (Local, Municipal): City of Santa Monica (Calif.)
Health Care: Johnson & Johnson / 4 California Facilities (N.J.)
Hotels & Lodging: Fairmont Hotel / Washington (D.C.), Forever Resorts / Signal Mountain Lodge (Wyo.)
Legal Services: Stoel Rives (Ore.)
Non-Profit (NGO): Independent Order of Oddfellows (Texas), The World Bank Group (D.C.)
Restaurants & Cafes: Austin Grill (Va.)
Retail: New Seasons Market (Ore.)
Technology & Telecom: IBM Corporation / Austin Facilities (Texas), Oracle Corporation / Austin Facility (Calif.)
Wineries & Breweries: Fetzer Vineyards (Calif.)

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July 15 Webinar Reminder: Supply Chain Sustainability and Green Power Use

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
1:00 – 2:00 PM (EDT)
Register for this webinar

Carbon management within the supply chain is becoming essential to an organization's overall carbon reduction strategy, and encouraging suppliers to use green power for their own operations can lead to impressive results. For companies and organizations looking to take the next step in their green power strategies, supply chain engagement can be an excellent way to achieve substantial environmental benefits. This GPP webinar will focus on supply chain sustainability efforts, including ways to engage suppliers to use green power.

Webinar participants will hear from EPA Green Power Partners Clif Bar & Company and Steelcase Inc., and learn more about embarking upon a supply chain sustainability program, establishing goals and measuring results, and getting suppliers on board.

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Welcome to Our Newest Green Power Communities!

With the latest release of the Green Power Community (GPC) Challenge rankings on June 30, we welcome several new GPCs to the list. New GPCs in 2014 include:

  • Alton, IL Community
  • County of Marin, CA Community
  • Hanover, NH Community
  • Novato, CA Community
  • Oak Ridge, TN Community

The two most recent communities to join the Partnership are Oak Ridge, TN and Hanover, NH. The Oak Ridge, TN Community is not only the first GPC in Tennessee, it's also the first GPC in EPA Region 4, which includes much of the southeastern United States. Oak Ridge was founded on energy ingenuity and continues that tradition today, and has also developed a strong focus on sustainability. Oak Ridge is a Platinum Community in Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) "Valley Sustainable Communities Program", has a robust climate action plan, a community guide to living green, and several solar generating sites. A total of 300 kilowatts are installed within the community.

The Hanover, NH GPC is a great example of a Green Power Community that has full support from local businesses. While the town took the initiative in using green power, the business community quickly followed and pledged its support. As of June 2014, the Hanover GPC is using more than 23 million kWh of green power annually.

Learn more about Green Power Communities and the latest GPC rankings here.

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By the Numbers: Green Power Community Growth Through the Years

GPP began its Green Power Community program in 2004 and the program has grown dramatically since its inception. As of June 2014, there are 54 GPCs using 6 billion kWh of green power—that's the equivalent of avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions from more than 871,000 passenger vehicles each year!

bar graph

On Twitter? Share this: 54 #EPAGreenPower Communities are using > 6 billion kWh of green power a year. Do you live in one? http://go.usa.gov/XnY4

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2015 Climate Leadership Awards Application Period Now Open Until September 12, 2014

The 2015 Climate Leadership Awards application period is now open until September 12, 2014, with an optional early bird deadline of August 8, 2014. The national awards program recognizes and incentivizes exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in response to climate change. Since its inception in 2012, awards have been presented to five individuals and 56 organizations from across the U.S. who are leading the way in the management and reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions — both in internal operations and throughout the supply chain. Now in its fourth year, the awards continue to honor and highlight leadership in addressing climate change by reducing carbon pollution and implementing adaptation planning initiatives.

The U.S. EPA co-sponsors the Climate Leadership Awards with three non-governmental organization (NGO) partners: the Association of Climate Change Officers, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), and The Climate Registry.

The 2015 award winners will be publicly recognized during the Climate Leadership Awards Dinner in early 2015, held in conjunction with the annual Climate Leadership Conference. For more information about the awards, please visit http://www.epa.gov/climateleadership/awards.

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NREL Highlights 2013 Utility Green Power Leaders

The Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released its assessment of leading utility green power programs. Using information provided by utilities, NREL has developed "Top 10" rankings of utility green power programs for 2013 in the following categories: total sales of renewable electricity to program participants, total number of customer participants, the percentage of customer participation, and green power sales as a percentage of total utility retail electricity sales.

Ranked by renewable electricity sales (megawatt-hours/year), Portland General Electric remained in the top spot by selling over a million megawatt-hours (MWh) through its voluntary green power program. Tennessee Valley Authority was new to the top renewable electricity sales list in the 9th spot. Green power sales of the top 10 utility programs exceeded 4.6 million MWh in 2013, up from 4.2 million MWh in 2012.

Ranked by the percentage of customer participation, the top utility was City of Palo Alto Utilities (19.4 percent). New to this year's list are Farmers Electric Cooperative of Kalona (2nd; 14 percent) and the Town of Wellesley Municipal Light Plant (4th; 11.1 percent). Portland General Electric (3rd; 12.6 percent) and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (5th; 10.4 percent) round out the top five spots. Many of the utility programs on these lists supply renewable energy to Green Power Partners and Communities.

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Green Power Education Corner: Making Environmental Claims

Want to make a claim regarding your green power use? Before you do, make sure you are following industry best practices and understand that renewable energy certificate (REC) ownership is a central component to any green power use claim. RECs are market-based instruments that convey the environmental value of renewable energy between buyers and sellers. Each REC provides exclusive proof that one megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy has been generated. Once a buyer makes an environmental claim based on a REC, the buyer can no longer sell the REC and the REC is considered permanently "retired." Buyers can also have their RECs retired in their name by their supplier to ensure that no other entity can lay claim to the same environmental benefits.

Consumers or organizations with on-site renewable electricity systems should be clear about who owns the RECs produced by the on-site system. If the on-site system owner wants to make an environmental claim about the use of renewable electricity from the on-site system, they should ensure that they have and retain ownership of the RECs produced by the on-site renewable electricity system. If the on-site system owner uses the system-produced electricity, but sells the RECs to another party, they are no longer using green power and cannot make a claim to be doing so.

For more information on best practices in green power claims, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/buygp/claims.htm

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Join GPP's LinkedIn Group now!

Not yet using green power but ready to start? Ready to join the Green Power Partnership? GPP logo

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Past Issues

GPP Program Update, Issue 21, June 17, 2014
GPP Program Update, Issue 20, May 5, 2014
GPP Program Update, Issue 19, April 7, 2014
GPP Program Update, Issue 18, March 10, 2014
GPP Program Update, Issue 17, February 10, 2014
GPP Program Update, Issue 16, January 13, 2014
GPP Program Update, Issue 15, December 19, 2013
GPP Program Update, Issue 14, November 28, 2013
GPP Program Update, Issue 13, October 28, 2013
GPP Program Update, Issue 12, September 9, 2013
GPP Program Update, Issue 11, August 12, 2013
GPP Program Update, Issue 10, July 15, 2013
GPP Program Update, Issue 9, June 17, 2013
GPP Program Update, Issue 8, May 13, 2013
GPP Program Update, Issue 7, April 8, 2013
GPP Program Update, Issue 6, March 11, 2013
GPP Program Update, Issue 5, February 20, 2013
GPP Program Update, Issue 4, January 14, 2013
GPP Program Update, Issue 3, December 17, 2012
GPP Program Update, Issue 2, November 26, 2012
GPP Program Update, Issue 1, October 22, 2012

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