Electric Vehicle Drivers Get a Charge out of Joppa Flats
Published: March 6, 2012
Drivers of electric cars on the North Shore can now pull into Joppa Flats Education Center for a free “fill up.” The wildlife sanctuary located on the approach to Plum Island in Newburyport now features an electric charging station in its parking lot, part of Mass Audubon’s growing commitment to energy conservation.
Sanctuary Director Bill Gette said the nature center was chosen to showcase the station in large part because of Joppa Flats’ track record in promoting Mass Audubon’s sustainability goals.
Its roof-mounted photovoltaic array of 60 solar panels produces more than 40 percent of the property’s electricity. Joppa Flats also features an innovative rainwater catchment system that has reduced dependence on municipal supplies; thousands of gallons collected annually are used to flush toilets and irrigate the education center’s gardens. And, the sanctuary’s south-facing glass-paneled entryway stores heat that helps warm the building interior.
The charging station is powered by the sanctuary’s solar panels, so it helps that Joppa Flats is located within a large, mostly treeless salt marsh habitat. In times of continuous clear weather Joppa Flats can produce more electricity than it uses, Gette noted, thus there’s no cost in “re-fueling” electric cars.
Since the charging process takes a couple of hours, visitors can drive to Joppa Flats (tagged as a electric vehicle charging site on GPS), plug in, spend a couple of hours pursuing an activity or otherwise enjoying the education center, then drive home with a fully recharged vehicle.
“You come here, fill up with totally green energy, and you’re looking at a totally free ride,” Gette noted. And that’s a great deal by any measure.
Learn more about Mass Audubon’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint in our Climate Change & Energy section.