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Sustainability

Case Study: Nerding Out on Solar - How Active Energies Solar is Going for Gold

Posted by Walking Mountains Sustainability on Jun 8, 2022 3:51:03 PM
Walking Mountains Sustainability

Get to Know Active Energies

Active Energies Solar, LLC is a solar energy design, installation, and financing company primarily installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for residential and commercial customers in Eagle, Summit, Lake, Garfield and Pitkin Counties. Active Energies’ goal is to make renewable energy commonplace by increasing the accessibility of solar energy. As a company with sustainability baked into their mission, it makes sense that Active Energies has not only achieved Actively Green Certification at the Bronze level, but is enthusiastically pursuing Gold-level certification, the highest level. 

 

Going for Gold

What is Gold Certification?

Gold Certification is the highest level of certification available through the Actively Green Program. Achieving Gold Certification requires an extra level of dedication, attention to detail, and transparency. 

The Actively Green Program has three tiers of certification: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Achieving Bronze Certification, itself, is no easy task. A business must complete 17 different criteria and provide three months worth of data on commuting/fleet mileage, resource consumption, and waste disposal. The 17 criteria they must meet includes creating fair employment and sustainable destination policies, writing a sustainability handbook that outlines the businesses commitments to employees, and creating responsible purchasing and marketing plans. To qualify for Silver or Gold Certification, a business must go above and beyond the work required for Bronze. Gold Certification requires completing all 17 criteria plus 33 intermediate criteria . In addition, a business must submit two years of data tracking and pass a third-party on-site assessment conducted by a Global Sustainable Tourism Council accredited body. As of publication, no business has achieved Silver or Gold Certification due to the strict requirements. Active Energies wants to be the first! 

Active Energies: Going for Gold

Active Energies holds sustainability as one of their top priorities. As a solar installer, they believe it’s important to lead by example on sustainability initiatives. As an employer, they want to encourage their employees to reduce their own environmental impact and foster sustainable habits. As a member of the community, they want to be good neighbors, responsible business owners, and to contribute to reaching Eagle County’s climate action goals. It’s for all these reasons and more that Active Energies chose to pursue Gold Certification through the Actively Green Program. 

Victoria Churchman, Operations Assistant at Active Energies, explained that their “main goal is to try and do more, and to set an example for the community.” She continued, “The more we look at [the Actively Green Gold Certification], the more we see challenges we have ahead of us in a good way.”

That challenge, according to Victoria, is to align the company’s goals “as closely as we can with…Actively Green[‘s] sustainability goals.” So what is Active Energies doing to meet their sustainability goals? It’s quite an extensive list: 

Solar Photovoltaic (PV)

As a solar installer, it makes sense that Active Energies would install solar panels on their office space. Located in Eagle-Vail, the Active Energies office is distinct due to the large solar array on their rooftop. Their array powers the office and helps Holy Cross Energy and Eagle County meet their goal of electricity from 100% renewable sources by 2030. 

Electric Vehicles + Charging 

Active Energies has a large fleet of vehicles. In addition to the gas-powered trucks used for solar installations, they also have a Toyota Prius hybrid and at least two Chevy Volt plug-in hybrids. To accommodate their electric vehicles (EVs) and the EVs owned by their employees and customers, Active Energies has installed EV charging stations at their Eagle-Vail office, and have plans to install more in the future. By using EVs themselves and installing chargers for employee and customer use, Active Energies is supporting the  Climate Action Plan priority action of increasing the number of EVs registered in Eagle County by 2% annually. 

Recycling + Composting

Recycling and composting programs are integral parts of becoming Actively Green Certified. Businesses are required to measure and track the percentage of waste they divert via recycling and compost as a percentage of their total waste stream. This helps to support the Climate Action Plan priority action of diverting 80% of organic waste by 2030. Active Energies has composting and recycling programs at their office. In addition, employees are encouraged to bring in their own compost and recycling to the office for proper disposal. This is especially important for composting, as many folks in Eagle County don’t have access to compost programs the way they might for recycling and trash. 

Planting Native Vegetation 

In the midst of working towards Gold Certification, Active Energies’ employees decided to undertake their own project: planting native plants between their back parking lot and I-70. Carbon sequestration is an integral part of the Climate Action Plan 2020 Update. The Update calls out “thriving native vegetation” as “crucial to adequate carbon sequestration.” It’s fantastic to see that the employees of Active Energies are so engaged with their sustainability practices that they’ve chosen to go above and beyond the Actively Green Standard!

 

Conclusion

Active Energies Solar is doing great work as they go for Gold Certification. In addition to all the great internal work they’re doing, Active Energies also has the full support of Walking Mountains’ Sustainable Business Team. As they implement the sustainable practices necessary to become the first business to achieve Gold Certification through the Actively Green Program, Active Energies has become a model for the community to follow. A business that not only sells products that help Eagle County meet its climate action goals, but one that implements sustainable practices into their own business. Victoria Churchman says Active Energies goal is “to have…sustainability…be our little shining beacon.” We’re eager to support Active Energies Solar as they go for Gold Certification and look forward to celebrating their success! 

Topics: Actively Green, Actively Green Case Studies

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