BP America and the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) today announced a $1 million donation of BP Solar panels and other equipment that will make CAFB's proposed new facility a local showcase of the latest solar technology. The solar system, which will be capable of generating 121.8 kW of clean electricity, will save more than 20 percent of CAFB's annual electricity bill.
The CAFB is the largest public nonprofit, hunger and nutrition education resource in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. Each year, the CAFB distributes 20 million pounds of food, including 6 million pounds of fresh produce through more than 700 member agencies. The energy saved by the solar installation will not only reduce the environmental footprint of the building, but also will result in economic savings that can be used to secure more food to feed the area's hungry.
"BP believes it is important not only to invest in communities where we operate but to become a part of the very fabric of the community," said Bob Malone, BP America chairman and president. "Solar technology is an important component in the overall energy mix in the United States, and the Capital Area Food Bank is an outstanding example of where today's solar technology can be deployed. Through this donation, not only will the air be a little cleaner in the Washington, D.C. area, but the energy savings from CAFB's electric bill will allow the Food Bank to provide more meals to the area's needy."
The annual monetary energy savings due to the use of the solar array is estimated to be $71,407. Considering CAFB calculates that $1 enables the Food Bank to provide three meals, the CAFB will be able to provide an estimated 214,221 more meals each year because of the new facility's energy savings. In addition to the more than 20 percent annual savings in energy expenses, the use of BP's solar panels will avoid CO2 emissions by nearly 87 tons annually, which is the equivalent of planting nearly 260 trees each year. The solar system will provide enough power for 43 percent of the building's total lighting needs, which includes lighting for the agency's distribution center, Kids Cafe area, volunteer room and staff break room.
The solar panels also are a key design element to enable that the new CAFB building to garner a Silver LEED(TM) (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The CAFB is in the process of finalizing plans and securing funds to construct the new facility that will eventually double its capacity.
"The Capital Area Food Bank is excited and energized to partner with BP to make our new warehouse more energy efficient and cost effective through the use of solar power. The countless dollars that the food bank will save on energy expenditures will be used to feed the more than 380,000 people we serve through our network of agencies. Through their donation, BP is not only creating a cleaner environment, but their support will actually translate into food for thousands of folks here in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. How we care for each other and how we care for our earth are inextricably bound together. BP understands that connection and is leading the way," said Lynn Brantley, president and CEO, Capital Area Food Bank.
The CAFB partnership is a further example of BP's leadership in the climate change debate. Reducing global greenhouse gas emissions has become a central focus for policy-makers and industry leaders across the globe. According to research done by consulting firm Financial Dynamics for the utility sector, in the U.S. alone, a majority of people - 58 percent - believe that global warming already has begun as a result of pollution from human activity. Further, 57 percent of Americans consider the environment a priority over economics, stating that they believe climate change will pose a "serious threat" in their lifetime. "In this atmosphere, it is important for Americans to know that BP is a major provider of low-carbon solutions that help address climate change and energy-efficiency issues," concluded Malone.