Boston Nature Center Receives Major Funding to Support Net-Zero Energy Use Project
Michael P. O'Connor
BOSTON, MA.—Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center (BNC) in Mattapan has embarked on an ambitious commitment to become carbon neutral by 2022, thanks in large part to crucial $100,000 commitments from the City of Boston’s George Robert White Fund, Tern Foundation’s TernSOLAR challenge grant program, and several generous individual donors.
This funding provides substantial support for the $600,000 project, a major component of which includes the installation of rooftop and ground-mounted solar arrays by ReVision Energy that will provide clean energy, eliminating the equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions from 102, 678 pounds of coal burned annually.
The rooftop panels will be placed on the City of Boston’s first “green” municipal building, the George Robert White Environmental Conservation Center to kick off its 20th anniversary. Along with adjacent ground-mounted arrays, the combined systems will produce electricity for all of BNC’s nature center and preschool buildings.
“The City of Boston is pleased to partner with Mass Audubon in taking this bold step forward and once again lead by example about creating a clean, green energy future together,” said City of Boston Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space, Rev. Mariama White-Hammond.
The project also calls for converting three vintage brick cottages—home to the wildlife sanctuary’s state-licensed nature preschool and other educational programs—from natural gas to a more efficient electrical heating infrastructure.
Achieving “net zero” energy status (producing more energy than BNC consumes) aligns with the climate priorities of Mass Audubon’s five-year Action Agenda as well as with city and state goals.
“We’re thrilled to support this project,” said Tern Foundation’s Lisa Linnehan and Marianne Lampke. “Our TernSOLAR grant program is designed to assist bold nonprofit organizations to fully engage in the renewable energy movement. This allows them to save on electricity costs, reinvest the savings back into their programs, and serve as a climate action role model to the community. Special kudos to the team at Boston Nature Center for transforming a vision into reality.”
“We all understand that committing to renewable energy and leaving carbon-based sources behind is critical to mitigating climate change,” said Mass Audubon President David J. O’Neill. “Since the pioneering George Robert White Environmental Conservation Center was designed as a building that teaches about green design and building practices, Boston Nature Center has modeled the vision of a clean-energy future.
“In rolling out this net zero, carbon neutral project at our wildlife sanctuary in Mattapan, an urban neighborhood facing disproportionate climate threats,” O’Neill added, “we’re determined to make that vision a reality.” To learn more, please visit BNC’s Green Features.
Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 140,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at www.massaudubon.org.