Point Reyes National Seashore Selected as a Center for Environmental Innovation
Contact: John Dell'Osso, 415-464-5135
Sustainability has been an integral part of America’s national parks since the National Park Service (NPS) was established. With rising interest in creating a future where sustainability is a part of all park activities and with the opportunity to become a world leader in educating the public on sustainable practices, the NPS is embarking on a systematic effort to establish places where sustainability can be showcased.
Point Reyes National Seashore has been selected as a Center for Environmental Innovation. These centers are defined as park areas where research, development, visitor education and appreciation of sustainable practices occur. Out of 385 national park units across the country, 20 were selected by the NPS Headquarters in Washington D.C. to showcase sustainable technologies. With this designation, the park will be developing additional sustainable practices to share with the visiting public. Currently, the National Seashore serves approximately 2.5 million visitors annually.
A major component of the park’s program was implemented this past month as three new compact solar generating power systems have been installed at the Seashore. New systems have been installed at the Clem Miller Environmental Education Center, Pacific Coast Learning Center, and the Bear Valley Visitor Center. A fourth solar generating system will be installed at the North District Operations in the former RCA complex this month. The three new systems are now generating energy to reduce the park’s outside energy needs, reduce air pollution and contribute to solutions to eliminate future energy crisis.
On average, the four solar photovoltaic systems each deliver about 5.4 kilowatts per hour in power. In comparison, an average house uses approximately 2.0 kilowatts per hour. With these new systems, the park hopes to save $9,000 - $10,000 annually in electric costs.
The park has other sustainable projects underway. A propane gas station will be installed during the summer at park headquarters for clean air vehicles. To augment these clean air vehicles, the park will receive six electric vehicles this summer from the National Park Foundation through a grant by the Ford Motor Company. The park hopes to convert 2-5% of its vehicles per year to alternative fuels. In partnership with local automobile garages, the park will be using 100% re-refined oil for the park’s fleet of vehicles.
The park is also using green custodial products, recycled plastic lumber for deck treads and picnic tables, and recycled paper on a regular basis. The high-density plastic lumber was donated by Unilever Corporation. In addition, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is donating free design review for lighting systems in the park. The park hopes to demonstrate how to retrofit existing incandescent light to compact fluorescent lights.