EPA awards Columbia Association with ENERGY STAR® Certificate of Recognition

April 24, 2018

APRIL 24, 2018 — Columbia Association (CA) has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with an ENERGY STAR Certificate of Recognition for its integration of energy management practices into daily operations and its promotion of energy efficiency in the community.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for our work,” said Jeremy Scharfenberg, CA’s energy manager. “Columbia Association’s commitment to environmental stewardship and lower energy costs has significantly improved the sustainability of our operations.”

CA became an ENERGY STAR Partner and created a formal energy management program in 2012. Since then, CA has worked aggressively to reduce its energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. CA’s energy use intensity has decreased by 20 percent, while its carbon footprint has been reduced by more than half.

These accomplishments are a result of CA working aggressively throughout its building portfolio to advance clean energy practices. Among the initiatives have been:

  • Widely deploying energy-efficient LED lighting, which has also improved light quality and reduced maintenance costs.
  • Installing new, high-efficiency ENERGY STAR HVAC units as a standard at all facilities.
  • A new combined heat and power (CHP) unit at Supreme Sports Club that produces electricity and heat at the same time, generating roughly one-third of the electricity needs for the building while heating pools and providing hot water for showers.
  • Embracing renewable energy. All of CA’s electricity use is now offset with green power, thanks to a 2 megawatt solar farm in Western Howard County; solar panels at five CA facilities totaling 61 kilowatts; and the purchase of wind renewable energy certificates.

“We’re not just leading by example,” Scharfenberg said. “CA also is actively working to promote clean energy practices in the broader Columbia community.”

CA manages the Columbia Solar Cooperative, which helps residents install solar panels at a reduced cost and with independent advisory support. CA also directs residents to rebates and incentives offered as part of BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program, which includes home performance energy audits, appliance rebates and discounted high-efficiency LED light bulbs.

Those outreach efforts recognize that the community can have a far greater impact on the environment than Columbia Association’s efforts alone. During CA’s Fiscal Year 2017 (May 2016 to April 2017), the organization’s total energy consumption — electricity, natural gas, propane, fuel oil, gasoline, and diesel — was equal to that of more than 900 homes of average square footage. Columbia’s population, meanwhile, includes approximately 40,000 households.
For more than 25 years, the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program has been America’s resource for saving energy and protecting the environment. In 2016 alone, ENERGY STAR-certified products, homes, buildings and plants helped Americans save more than $30 billion in energy costs and approximately 400 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, all while reducing the threat of climate change. The ENERGY STAR logo can be found on more than 60 different products —as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings — that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA.

About Columbia Association

Columbia Association (CA) is a nonprofit community services corporation that manages Columbia, Maryland, a planned community that is home to approximately 100,000 people and several thousand businesses — and was named the No. 1 small city to live in by Money Magazine in 2016. Additional information about CA is available at ColumbiaAssociation.org.

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