Sustainable Practices at PHA

Posted December 7th, 2017

Solar arrays on the Education Center and Botany Lab and the Cowbarn

Polly Hill Arboretum engages in sustainable practices wherever possible. When it comes to landscaped areas, these practices include limiting the use of pesticides, preserving existing plantings, and proper plant selection. We adhere to “right plant, right place” in an effort to promote plant health and reduce the demand for irrigation and other inputs.

Sustainability does not end in the garden though. Sustainability calls for the use of renewable energy throughout our campus. PHA has addressed this with solar panels positioned on the Littlefield Maintenance Building, the Cowbarn, and the new Education Center and Botany Lab, where photovoltaic cells convert the sun’s energy into electricity, reducing our dependency on fossil fuels.

The solar project began in 2013 when we contracted with South Mountain Company to install solar on the then new Littlefield Maintenance Building. Three years later, they installed a second array of panels on the new Education and Botany Lab and adjacent Cowbarn. We are proud to report that the combination of these two arrays provides over 100 percent of PHA’s energy requirements from a sustainable, renewable energy source. The installation of the arrays has slashed our electric bills to zero, cut the Arboretum’s carbon footprint, and built up energy credits for the winter months. PHA is also eligible for Solar Renewable Energy Credits made to solar owners through the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. Our credit will amount to approximately $5,000 annually.

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