The Community Carbon Fund implements energy efficiency and carbon sequestration projects with grants and education after an analysis of the impact, and after energy audits which are required for all energy, insulation, and lighting projects. The funds are used solely in our own community, making our Carbon Fund unique. Keeping local funds in the community creates jobs for our economic benefit. We leverage community resources, both public and private, to implement projects that lower energy use and reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in the Tallahassee area.
Contributions to the Community Carbon Fund have been used to help local nonprofit organizations lower energy use and reduce GHG emissions by improving and upgrading their buildings. We seek to assist non-profit organizations who serve low-income, disadvantaged or disenfranchised individuals and families in the Tallahassee/Leon County area.
We’ve accomplished some exciting projects!
The CCF’s completed projects have lowered the carbon footprint of the agencies while also lowering their utility bills - allowing them to use more of their resources for services. We utilized local contractors to promote a healthier economy in our community. It's another example of sustainability being a win/win solution for all those involved.
We couldn't have accomplished these projects without your individual donations, without generous grant funding for 2012 from the City of Tallahassee and for 2013 from Leon County, and without dedication and hard work from our Carbon Fund Committee who are all donating many hours of volunteer time and effort.
Here is a summary of several initiatives the CCF has undertaken and completed:
Several projects have been implemented. Old energy-hog appliances were replaced with a new EnergyStar refrigerator and freezer. A lighting retrofit with CFL bulbs was done in the kitchen and dining room area. New electronic ballast fixtures and T-8 bulbs were also purchased to replace inefficient fixtures throughout Refuge House's facilities. New programmable thermostats were acquired and installed in the offices and transitional housing units, and energy efficiency training was provided by Lee Jones of the City of Tallahassee Energy Services Department for all of the staff. This efficiency alone is expected to pay back the investment within a single season. If the staff maintain the limits recommended by Energy Services, Refuge House will continue to see dramatic reductions in utility costs over the lifetime of the thermostats.
On-demand gas water heaters were installed which will not only lower their bill for heating water, but will allow them to work more efficiently. Elder Care prepares 1000 to 1200 meals daily, and before this installation staff had to wait an hour for the water to heat up as they cleaned up from the morning’s food preparation.
The completed projects at Grace Mission, located on Brevard Street, were significant. The needs that were determined by a city energy audit resulted in projects that included a lighting retrofit, a conversion of the electric water heater system to a tankless on-demand gas water heater, and a commercial Energy Star refrigerator. These upgrades and improvements are expected to save over $2100 in utility bills and 9 tons of carbon annually! The impact of energy costs to Grace Mission is significant when you realize that in 2011 Grace Mission relied on 252 volunteers to provide 19,000 volunteer hours dedicated to the Children’s Program alone - they served 21,501 meals, provided 1144 showers, and cleaned 416 loads of laundry.
Bethany Family Apartments, established in 2007 on South Meridian Street under the umbrella of Bethany Family Services, is a residential complex that serves the poor. After a city energy audit revealed energy drains, the Carbon Fund project addressed opportunities for saving energy and dollars on utility bills. The assistance provided to Bethany included increasing ceiling insulation, repairing HVAC closet leaks, and cleaning the HVAC coils. Significant expense and electricity is being saved.
In the first round of CCF projects, programmable thermostats with internal limits were installed throughout the campus, allowing the agency to save around $6500 annually. Electric hot water heaters were replaced by on-demand gas water heaters in the Family and Women's Dormitories resulting in an annual savings of $1200 per dorm. In the second round of funding, conversion of electric water heaters to on-demand gas occurred in the Men’s Dorm, which houses between 50 and 60 men. Now all three dorms will have hot water as needed.
Through the efforts of the CCF at the Hope Community, utility bills have been consistently lower, saving as much as $800-$1000 month and reducing CO2 emissions by over 20 metric tons annually. The savings in utility bills is equivalent to one quarter of the Hope Community's food budget.
Hope Community is a transitional housing program for homeless families, single women, and single men located on West Pensacola Street. The program’s goals are to provide a recovery-based program, get people into jobs, and find stable housing. It is the only program of its kind in our eight-county Big Bend area, and over 70% of HOPE residents move into stable housing.
Sustainable Tallahassee was honored in September 2013 to be designated as a "Champion of Hope" by the Big Bend Homeless Coalition for our contributions.
The CCF’s installation of a mini-split heat pump to cool their computer server room on Laura Lee Avenue now allows the agency to program their administrative office thermostat to shut down on nights and weekends rather than cooling the entire administrative space to 72 degrees just to accommodate the needs of the computer equipment. This will result in significant cost savings and will allow the staff to work in more comfortable temperatures.
This project was completed on Arbor Day, January 25, 2014. It involved the donation of 110 live oak trees by the Community Carbon Fund, planted in a colonnade at the entrance to the park, as a carbon sequestration effort. In addition to the carbon sequestration benefit, as the trees grow and mature they will provide shade and improved aesthetics for park users. See photos and more about this event, and read Bob Henderson's "Greening Our Community" article.
Sustainable Tallahassee is proud of being a viable partner in these endeavors – but it’s totally the result of contributions to the Community Carbon Fund. We are limited only by the funds that are contributed – and we can do so much more with a contribution from you!
Make a contribution in any amount you can afford - every amount is greatly appreciated. Or, make a contribution that offsets your personal carbon footprint. The suggested contribution to offset your carbon footprint is $14 per metric ton of energy you use. That amount was based upon a survey of similar funds around the nation that ranged from $12 to $20.
The money that Sustainable Tallahassee has spent has been leveraged to stretch further because of grant funds, city gas rebates and other incentives, donated labor, and in one case, equipment purchased at cost. Your contribution not only reduces carbon but also allows these organizations to have more money for direct services to their clients.
Make your contribution HERE to the Community Carbon Fund.
Calculate your carbon footprint and determine the amount of your carbon offset contribution to the Community Carbon Fund.
You'll be doing something really good for our community!