The Food Bank was faced with two challenges:
The Food Bank’s significant energy costs have a direct correlation to the number of meals the Food Bank can provide to those in need; reducing energy costs means more meals for individuals and families across San Diego County.
- Offset the high electrical cost of operating an 80,000 square foot warehouse facility along with the additional costs associated with running huge freezer rooms and a new industrial-sized composter.
- Achieving Gold LEED certification.
Switching to solar was a critical component of an ambitious capital improvement project designed to help the Food Bank reach its Gold LEED objective. Founded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is the stringent eco and sustainability standard by which building design and construction are measured in the U.S.
Baker Electric Solar experts worked closely with Food Bank senior management and its facilities director, to develop a clear understanding of its day-to-day operational, financial and LEED objectives. The result was the design of a state-of-the-art 1400 panel solar system covering over 80,000 square feet of roof.
San Diego-area philanthropists, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, donated $1M toward the cost of the Food Bank’s solar system. In addition, the Food Bank will also receive $90,000 annually from the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) over the course of five years, a total of $450,000. This due to the organization’s ability to meet its energy use reduction targets.
The Food Bank’s Baker Electric Solar system is yielding annual energy cost savings of $120,000. This savings enables 600,000 more meals per year for San Diegans in need. In addition, a significant step was made toward the achievement of the Food Bank’s goal of LEED certification.
“As a part of our recent capital improvement project, our 350 kW solar system provides a major contribution toward our goal of becoming LEED certified,” said Casey Castillo, VP of Finance and Administration of the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank.
Today, the Food Bank’s commitment to live with renewable energy, recycle, conserve water and other green initiatives is tracked via a monitor in the building’s lobby. There, visitors, employees and volunteers can view in real-time the metrics that clearly show the positive impact the Food Bank is making on its immediate and surrounding environment every day.