Energy Star ImageMembers of our community have seen the ENERGY STAR® logo more frequently and have gotten more information about energy-efficiency programs in recent years. Columbia Association (CA) is an active ENERGY STAR partner, and has made a strong commitment to energy management within our operations — and also to conducting robust outreach to residents, businesses, individuals who regularly use our facilities, and the greater Columbia community.

CA is committed to encouraging the use of ENERGY STAR products and greater participation in all ENERGY STAR and associated Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) sponsored programs as a way to cost-effectively improve the energy efficiency of our community, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save money.

The effective use of energy by an organization or individual is one of the most important things we can do to make our community more sustainable. We can reduce utility bills, improve the comfort of our homes and buildings, lower maintenance costs, and do our part to help reduce the threat of climate change by making wise choices with respect to energy consumption and energy supply.

What CA is Doing

Solar PanelsCA is continuously looking for opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of its operations through equipment upgrades and optimizing use of existing equipment.  Efforts undertaken by CA to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions can be seen throughout our building portfolio, from high-efficiency LED lighting to the solar photovoltaic panels at multiple pools and community buildings.

Columbia Association’s efforts have earned it recognition from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2017 as one of just 13 “Partners in Better Buildings” through the Better Buildings Alliance’s Interior Lighting Campaign. In 2020, 2019, and 2014, CA received the Environmental Protection Agency’s Special Recognition Award honoring CA’s promotion of community energy efficiency and sustainability through ENERGY STAR.

We spread the word about energy efficiency and sustainability — because what you do matters.

Green Power

Columbia Association (CA) has been making strides in recent years to leverage green power opportunities and reduce our carbon footprint. Since August 2015, electricity use at CA has been 100 percent offset with clean renewable energy!

Solar power generated by a 2 Megawatt solar farm in West Friendship, MD supplies about 25 percent of CA’s annual electricity usage. Under the 20 year power purchase agreement (PPA) CA receives electricity through virtual aggregate net metering and solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs).

A part of our recent electricity supply contract, CA secured American Wind™ Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for the remaining 75 percent of our annual electricity usage. The wind generation sources for the RECs are located in Texas and Oklahoma. In addition to the above efforts, CA operates multiple onsite solar photovoltaic installations:

  1. 20 kW system in Kings Contrivance
  2. 5 kW single axis tracking system in River Hill
  3. 10 kW system at Dorsey Hall Pool
  4. 6 kW system at Dickinson Pool
  5. 40 kW system at Long Reach Tennis Club
  6. 15 kW system at Hobbits Glen Golf Club
  7. 5 kW system at Slayton House
  8. 20 kW system at Kahler Hall
  9. 40 kW system at the Columbia Athletic Club
  10. 8 kW dual axis tracking system at Long Reach Tennis

CA also participates in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sponsored Green Power Partnership, where organizations are recognized for their efforts to advance the development of green power.

Columbia Solar Cooperative

Columbia Association has partnered with Retrofit Baltimore, a program of the non-profit Civic Works, to implement a solar and home energy efficiency upgrade cooperative in the Columbia community. Retrofit Baltimore will guide you through each step of the energy improvement process and ensure you receive quality work from a vetted contractor. Community members will benefit from a bulk discount by purchasing these services together.

Join the Solar Coop!

  • Go solar and secure your solar coop discounted rate! A typical project saves around 20 percent off general market-rate costs of a solar system.
  • Federal tax credits cut the costs of solar by 30 percent in the first year.
  • State incentives cut the costs of solar by at least $1,000 more!

Home Energy Efficiency Upgrade Cooperative
Learn how to improve home comfort by eliminating drafts and hot/cold rooms, save up to 20% on utility bills, and protect the environment.

  • Home energy audits are $100 (a $400 value)
  • Rebates cut the cost of energy improvements by 50 percent (up to $2,000 total)
  • LEDs, advanced power strips, pipe insulation, shower heads, and other energy-saving products are installed at the energy audit (at no cost) [Image 13]

Sign up at: http://www.retrofitbaltimore.org/columbia

You can also contact your energy advocate by emailing info@retrofitbaltimore.org or  calling 410-929-6084 to get more information about this exciting program.

CA is also working to actively engage and empower Columbia residents on the critical issue of energy management. A broad communications program has been implemented throughout the community to promote ENERGY STAR as a powerful tool to help make our community more sustainable.  CA has also launched a residential energy efficiency initiative leveraging the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program to make it easier and more cost-effective for Columbia residents to improve the energy efficiency of their home.

What Columbia Residents Can Do

Columbia residents can take numerous steps to make Columbia an Energy Smart Community.  From turning off unnecessary lights and buying an ENERGY STAR refrigerator for their home to exploring renewable electricity supply, Columbia residents can help CA make a difference.