Sustainability at SEIA
Where is Our Impact?
As we work every day to support the low-carbon technology of solar, SEIA is also dedicated to reducing the carbon and environmental footprint of our everyday office operations. SEIA is committed to adopting sustainable office practices and finding innovative ways to reduce consumption. Though our projects, we aim to engage many aspects of sustainability, engage remote employees, and look for ways to measure changes and determine the impact of our actions.
Whether our team is at the office, working from home, or simply enjoying life, we are dedicated to practicing sustainable and healthy practices. Through friendly competitions and team-building activities, SEIA is building on our existing human resources by providing opportunities to learn new approaches to sustainable living and serve local communities.
Our Programs & Events
From SEIA’s working groups and committees to our research publications or other efforts, the work we do is a critical part of our sustainability practice. As a trade association representing an industry that reduces CO2 pollution by more than 52.3 million metric tons, we are dedicated to carry on this important work by implementing sustainable practices throughout our programs. Whether we are planning a small board meeting or working with our partners to plan the industry’s largest trade show, SEIA is committed to reducing our carbon and environmental footprint at our meetings and events.
Current Projects & Recent News
Office Relocation Taskforce
SEIA staff worked hard to design and implement a sustainable process for our October 2018 office move:
- Furniture inventory and disposal plan: we created an inventory of all office furniture to make sure as many items as possible were sent to new homes and diverted from landfill.
- Sustainability accountability with the larger office-move team: sustainability representatives sat in on weekly meetings with our office architects to ensure that our new space was designed to meet LEED standards and that new furniture was responsibly sourced.
- Engage in multiple E-Waste Days per year, working with our building to properly recycle or dispose of electronic waste to be recycled. Electronic waste contains toxic materials that are dangerous to dispose of in a traditional landfill.
Securing SRECs and Carbon Offsets
- In 2018, SEIA and WGL Energy Services, Inc. (WGL Energy) announced a new Clean Energy Partnership to green the electricity use and offset the greenhouse gas emissions associated with SEIA’s office, travel and events.
- Carbon emission reductions:
- Through this 2018 – 2019 partnership, WGL Energy will annually provide SEIA with 373 solar renewable energy credits (SRECS) and 554 Green-e® Climate certified carbon offsets after calculating approximate emissions from SEIA staff travel, commuting, event attendee travel, and office and event electricity usage.
- The SRECs provided by WGL Energy are sourced from two solar projects: an 8-megawatt (MW) solar facility in Danville, VA, and a 2-MW solar facility in Hagerstown, MD
- Over the course of 2018-2019, the SRECs provided to SEIA by WGL Energy equal a reduction of 555 metric tons of CO2, equivalent to taking 119 cars off the road for a year, or not consuming 62,472 gallons of gasoline.
- The carbon offsets provided have a total environmental impact equal to 1,108 metric tons of CO2, which is equivalent to taking 237 cars off the road for a year, or not consuming 124,676 gallons of gasoline.
SEIA's National PV Recycling Program
- SEIA works with recycling service providers nation-wide to help them understand PV technology, address current and pending regulations, and establish appropriate methods for responsibly recycling PV modules
- Competed in the “Joulebug Challenge” – an office sustainability challenge – against our colleagues at AWEA. The competition allowed staff to track and record how they live sustainably each day and encouraged them to make better environmental decisions both at work and at home.
- Transitioned the office coffee system from single serve plastic pods to a drip coffee carafe system, which eliminates waste from plastic pods and allows us to compost our coffee grinds and paper filter.
- Conducting a procurement assessment to understand the organization’s purchasing habits, then use this information to find more sustainable options that are both cost-effective and popular with staff.
- SEIA staff is diverting food scraps and other organic matter from reaching landfills by hiring Veteran Compost to compost these items.
Events & Programs
- Created Meeting & Events Sustainability Guidelines document to address venue energy use, event waste, food and beverage, signage, printing, and more. We send these guidelines to our potential vendors.
- Reduce waste from events by adding composting services when available and donating leftover food when possible.
- In Q2 2017, a team of staff members spent a morning volunteering with Bread for the City at the Free Farmers Market.
- Each year, SEIA staff participate in and volunteer with the Clean Energy 5K to benefit the Clean Energy Leadership Institute.
- In Q2 2017, SEIA sponsored We Build, an all women solar installation run by Grid Alternatives Mid-Atlantic. 4 staff members volunteered their time to install this 2.85 kW PV system that will allow a local resident to save on their electric bills.
- In Q3 2017, a staff member volunteered with POWERpnw at a Girls Build camp in Portland, OR. POWERpnw volunteers ran interactive workshops on solar roof installation and wind power in order to introduce girls to career opportunities in solar and wind.
- In 2017 and 2018, a SEIA staff member raised money for Climate Ride with multi-day bike tours through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and along the coast of Northern California.