Go Green/Clean Energy
The Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce was the first Chamber in RI to join “Chambers for Innovation and Clean Economy” in October 2011. By doing so, we partnered with chambers from around the country who are committed to generating clean energy business opportunities, helping their member companies save money by reducing energy use, and playing a pivotal role in support of clean energy policies and practices in their local economy. As an economic development strategy, we support market-based solutions that allow businesses to find the most efficient and cost-effective measures to spur innovation, encourage investment, and advance clean energy technologies.
Our Clean Energy Initiatives Include:
- Establish a working partnership with the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce and Uplands Energy to help our members save money and find financing- We share information on incentives and rebates and work with Utility companies, legislators and expert business partners to provide the most current information and opportunities. The chamber newsletter, website and periodic e-blasts will help encourage members to utilize these incentives.
- Promote energy efficiency resources- We profile our chamber members who are involved in this industry on our web page.
- Establish vendor relationships- We set meetings to help members gain exposure and expand their contact base. We periodically host Energy Roundtable/Focus Group Discussions with member companies.
- Educate and Engage our members on Clean energy Issues. We will host and promote a Speaker Series on relevant topics. The first program was co-sponsored with the Westerly Land Trust in March 2012 and featured the work of Oyster Works, and a case study of sensibly green architecture, as demonstrated with their construction of Charlestown Wine and Spirits.
- Promote best practices by our members. Use our newsletter and website to recognize efforts of local businesses who are energy efficient and going green.
- Monitor and Brief our members on Legislation- we will actively support clean energy policies including PACE Legislation, SMART grid legislation, tax credits and state policies in CT and RI to encourage clean energy investment.
- Position the Ocean Community region as a clean energy hub. By doing so, we will attract new companies and capitol and technology demonstration projects.
- Help establish Business Incubators- The Town of Stonington, CT has set this as one of their goals, and we are simultaneously looking for ways to support that initiative.
- Host a Clean Energy Expo. This is a long term goal, possibly sometime in fall 2013. We would include a speaking program and bestow clean energy awards as part of the activities.
- Lead by Example- We intend to retrofit our chamber building, reduce our Chamber’s energy use and adopt new technologies at our welcome center.
- Secure grants to help support the cost of implementing this program and providing ongoing education.
For more information about our alliances, please visit www.chambersforinnovation.com.
Great Examples of our Chamber Members Going Green!
McQuade's Marketplace Inc., a family owned and operated business, has been a leader in the community for its “green' initiatives. Michael McQuade has embraced numerous energy-efficient and energy-saving initiatives.
McQuade's Marketplace in Mystic, CT has the largest solar electric system at a grocery store in the state. The new system, unveiled in October 2009, generates about 168,200 kilowatt hours of clean energy each year, which is roughly the power needed for more than 10 average-sized New England homes. The rooftop solar unit uses a photovoltaic system to generate electricity for the supermarket. It was the first such system installed locally. The Mystic store was perfect for the new solar energy system because of its large, flat roof. The chain's other stores don't have similar flat roofs.
The solar installation at the Mystic retail store received a grant of more than $641,000 from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. The fund (www.ctcleanenergy.com) was created by the Connecticut legislature, and is funded by electric ratepayers, to promote, develop and invest in clean energy sources.
Among McQuade's other environmentally friendly projects was the renovation of its flagship store in Westerly, RI. The extensive project made the retail store more customer and environmentally friendly.
The business was awarded a 'gold level' certification for installing a state-of-the-art refrigeration system that reduces its overall refrigerant emissions by 95 percent compared to the standard refrigeration systems used by other grocers. It's now recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 'Green Chill' partnership. In September 2011, McQuades received the Best Emissions Rate Award for its use of refrigeration technology over a year’s period. 'Mc Quade's attention to improved maintenance practices was another key to the company's success in reducing harmful refrigerant emissions,' Keilly Witman, manager of EPA's GreenChill Partnership, said. For information, visit: www.epa.gov/greenchill.
All three of the McQuade’s Marketplace stores use heat-reclaiming systems that help cool and heat the stores,as well as provide the heat for the stores' hot water needs.
The grocery firm uses two diesel delivery trucks that were converted from standard diesel fuel to burn reprocessed (and discarded) fryolater oil from the stores. The two trucks handle daily deliveries while burning reprocessed oil that might have been used previously to make up a batch of fish and chips. It's a novel way to put the discarded (and filtered) oil to good use providing fuel for those delivery trucks. McQuade says All of these energy-saving initiatives are reflective of the McQuade family’s commitment to be responsive to its customers, communities, employees and the environment. www.mcquadesmarket.com 106 Main St, Westerly, RI 401-596-2054
One local example of their work is the Charlestown Wine and Spirits construction project, completed in May of 2011 in Charlestown, RI. This signature project included installation of three 450-foot geothermal wells that heat the building in winter with groundwater sitting in the earth at a constant 50 degrees. The heat generated by the store’s beer coolers is then captured and channeled into the system, while a computer-controlled LED lighting system uses 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and monitors energy consumption. The business no longer relies on fossil fuels, and has significantly reduced its energy costs.
According to U.S. Government Energy Star figures, Charlestown Wine and Spirits is using 67% less energy than comparable stores. In the long run, this business will experience significant savings, proving that going green is not synonymous with going broke. Incorporating energy-related improvements resulted in an 11% increase over normal construction costs for business owner Jonathan Maldon but he is not complaining. In fact, he is a huge advocate for going green and has participated in speaking programs with Baer and Moynihan to help educate others of the many benefits. www.charlestownwineandspirits.com 4625 Old Post Rd, Charlestown, RI 401-364-6626
Rhode Island Resources Recovery Corporation has several program to help RI businesses.
65 Shun Pike, Johnston, RI 02919 401-942-1430, FAX: 401-946-5174, e-mail:mailto:email@example.com
E-Waste Recycling Program- Take your electronic waste (cell phones, iPads, flat screen tvs, computers, etc.) to the landfill anytime during normal business hours.
Hazardous chemicals are accepted are accepted at the RIRRC Eco-Depot by appointment.
The Southern New England Materials Exchange (SNEME) is a free service offered by the RIRRC to businesses in Rhode Island, southern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut. SNEME creates a link between businesses that have surplus or waste materials and businesses that may have uses for them. By providing businesses with the opportunity to give away or sell what they would normally throw away, SNEME not only helps businesses to save money on disposal costs, but also helps them to reduce their environmental impact. The most up-to-date SNEME Bulletin Board listings can be viewed on the RIRRC web page at www.state.ri.us/rirrc/.
GreenZone-a collaboration between DEM and RIRC, offers Rhode Island businesses free advice on recycling compliance and meeting environmental goals. Identify opportunities for saving money through waste reduction and recycling. Businesses that excel are recognized through the GreenZone In Action program. Greenzoneri.org
Westerly Innovations Network-Project T.G.I.F—Turning Grease into Fuel, aims to recycle used cooking oil into biodiesel to help heat needy people’s home in Westerly. Over 100 restaurants donate their oil to be recycled, as well as local residents who use recycling bins at the land fill. Some of the oil is then donated to the WARM shelter in Westerly for heating assistance. www.w-i-n.ws
ecoRI Advice Desk —orginally known as the Green Team, was introduced to the ecoRI Inc. brand in 2010 as a way to educate and empower people and businesses with a hands-on approach that provides them with the information needed to make better choices when it comes to protecting the environment and Rhode Island’s natural resources. The Advice Desk accomplishes this mission by: Consulting with those looking to “green up” their practices and/or events; providing educational presentations and running public outreach programs; and diverting compostable food scrap from the state’s ever-shrinking Central Landfill. For information about green consulting services, educational programs and food-scrap collection service, send an e-mail to Advice Desk manager Kevin Proft at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 401-678-0206. www.ecoRI.org
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
For a complete ranking of all 50 states, along with detailed legislation and information on each state’s Utility Policies, Appliance Standards, Building Codes, Clean Distributed Generation information, Vehicle Policies, Transportation System Efficiency, Lead by Example Initiatives, Financial Incentives and Climate Change Policies visit www.ACEEE.org.
American Council on Renewable Energy ACORE is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to building a secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy. ACORE provides a common educational platform for a wide range of interests in the renewable energy community, focusing on technology, finance and policy. We convene thought leadership forums and create energy industry partnerships to communicate the economic, security and environmental benefits of renewable energy. www.acore.org
Narragansett Electric, a National Grid Company, is a investor-owned utility that administers and operates a portfolio of energy efficiency programs for its customers, which account for 99% of statewide sales of electricity. A public utility, Pascoag Utility District, operates its own programs. The Rhode Island legislature unanimously passed sweeping new legislation on June 23, 2006, which, among other things, established the state's EERS. The Comprehensive Energy Conservation, Efficiency and Affordability Act of 2006 greatly increase the role and requirements for acquisition of demand-side resources---requiring utilities to acquire all cost-effective energy efficiency. The act also establishes new requirements for strategic long-term planning and purchasing of least-cost supply and demand resources, which requires the setting of three-year energy saving targets. The three-year energy savings targets proposed for 2012-2014 would amount to some of the most aggressive in the nation.
Utility programs are funded by a 'conservation and load adjustment factor'—a rider assessed on all customer rates established as part of Rhode Island's restructuring legislation. There is a minimum floor on this surcharge of 2 mills per kilowatt-hour for energy efficiency. The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission annually reviews and authorizes utility demand-side management program plans, including budget amounts. National Grid reported 81,543 MWh in savings in 2009 and 66,457 in 2010. 2010 electric program budgets were $32.1 million. Enacted in 2010, House Bill 8082 authorizes revenue decoupling for electric and natural gas utilities and requires utilities to submit proposals to implement these policies. For more information, visit www.nationalgridus.com/narragansett