The SPCA Doesn’t Just Save Animals; They Save the Planet, Too

SPCA Solar LogoPress Release Provided by the SPCA of Tompkins County
ITHACA/June 18 In celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the Dorothy and Roy Park Pet Adoption Center, the SPCA of Tompkins County is taking the extra step toward environmental and financial sustainability with the installation of a large roof mounted solar array beginning on June 17th.

The Dorothy and Roy Park Pet Adoption Center, when it opened in 2004 adjacent to the existing shelter (now the Rescue building) was the first LEED certified animal welfare agency in the United States.

“To say that I am excited about this next chapter in our history would be an understatement!” says Jim Bouderau, executive director.  “We are taking the next step in our future as a financially and environmentally sustainable organization by going solar.”

Since taking over in 2011, Bouderau has been striving to improve the infrastructure of the SPCA for long-term fiscal responsibility. Working with a Cornell alumnus who is both an SPCA supporter and a solar consultant, Bouderau and the SPCA’s board of directors researched for several months the possibility of solar power for the shelter’s electrical needs.

The adoption center structure is ideally situated and suited for a substantial roof mounted solar array.  The SPCA projects a cost savings on electricity of more than $6,600 per year based on current NYSEG rates and projects a savings of over $340,000 over the 25 year life of the system as NYSEG rates increase.

The cost of the system was reasonable, but was well beyond the agency’s normal financial means. With the financial support of several lead donors who realized the importance of this project and the long term impact on the organization, Bouderau was able to raise the necessary funds and the shelter is now ready for implementation. “We could not have even dreamed of embarking upon this project without some very special friends committed to the SPCA of Tompkins County, and by extension to the entire No Kill movement. It thrills me that we are able to have the array installed this summer and know that we will begin to see budgetary savings this fiscal year.”

Renovus Energy has been contracted to install the panels, and has completed the last bit of site work, readying the site for installation this week.###

Renvous Energy Logo∼∼∼∼∼

I am very excited about the SPCA’s solar panel project which required Jim to hustle to find supporters who wanted to earmark their donations for the installation. (If I’d have had an extra $8,000, I would have given to the project!) Already having a silver LEED certification, committing to renewable energy reinforces the importance of sustainability to the organization. Although the SPCA isn’t the first animal shelter with solar panels, it is among only a handful that are making the investment. Ultimately, though, the investment will not just reduce energy costs allowing more of the budget to be devoted to programming. It also will impact the long-term health of the planet. I hope that other communities will look to this milestone as an inspiration for their own animal shelters.

On a side note, George briefly worked for Renovous Energy. The employees there are knowledgeable and committed, and I know the SPCA is in good hands.

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