The Crayola solar farm became fully operational this week. Ten children from around the country, known as the “Crayola Green Team,” helped dedicate the newest addition to the Easton, Pa.-plant.
“This year, it’s the greenest back-to-school ever,” says Stacy Gabrielle of Crayola. The 107 year-old company is tapping into the sun’s energy to make 1 billion crayons using power from the 1.9 MW solar farm behind its Easton, Pa., plant.
About 26,000 “thin-film” solar panels — manufactured by First Solar in Perrysburg, Ohio — are providing enough power to make a third of the 3 billion crayons the plant pumps out per year, representing 10 percent of the facility’s total energy consumption. Greenhouse gas emissions are being cut by 1,900 tons annually.
City officials in Glendale, Ariz. had a problem.
Citizens were constantly asking them for information on how to reduce home energy consumption, but they did not have a staff member to answer the questions. That changed in June 2009, when the city hired Nancy Schwab to be the official energy education specialist. “We had so much demand for information that we could no longer afford to ignore it,” says Jo Miller, Glendale’s environmental program manager.
Fulton County, Georgia is an example of how large-scale energy upgrades can save local governments millions of dollars and develop a new green workforce. Under the program, more than a dozen county facilities are being upgraded with equipment such as occupancy sensors, digital thermostats and LED exit signs. County workers will also be trained on how to conduct the upgrades and keep buildings energy efficient.
One such worker is Robyn McNeil-English, a plumber who enrolled in Gwinnet Technical College’s green program to learn about topics such as geothermal technology and energy efficiency. The course provided a bonus for McNeil-English. “It also has helped me with my own energy efficiency at home and how to conserve and save money,” she says in the video.