ELIZABETH, NJ (December 2009): On Saturday, November 21, 2009 Public Service was on site at bfi in Elizabeth, NJ to tie in a new 50 Kilowatt Solar Energy System into the grid. All of the renewable energy produced by the system will be used by bfi reducing its annual electric costs by 50%. It is believed to be the largest Solar Energy project in the city to date.
bfi, a contract furniture company, offers a wide selection of office furniture to create great places to work, heal & learn.
Everyone would like to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and create a clean environment however, it is a huge undertaking for a small company. The cost of such a project, especially in this economy, makes it a difficult choice. Inspired by an incentive in the Economic Recovery Act that provides a grant equal to 30 % of the installed cost, bfi project manager, Michael Ricca, began to look into the possibility. He found that there was additional grant money available from the NJ Board of Public Utilities. The company gave approval to proceed with an engineering study to see if the project was viable; how much electricity could be generated, how much will energy costs be reduced, what grants and incentives are available and how could the project be financed.
After extensive research and obtaining three competitive quotes on the project, the high cost made the decision to proceed difficult. That’s when Mr. Ricca and company CFO John Trotter turned to the Elizabeth Development Company and deputy director Bill O’Dea to see if there were Urban Enterprise funds available. bfi found that there was currently a Clean Air Solutions Capital Investment Loan/Grant program available through the NJ Economic Development Authority. But it was only for projects over $1 million and none for smaller projects. However, Mr. O’Dea had designed a program for smaller UEZ companies called the UEZ Renewable Energy Capital Stimulus Grant and applied to the state agency for funding. The program would provide a 20% grant to qualified projects. The timing couldn’t be better for bfi.
Within weeks the program was approved and with the help of Elizabeth EDC Director of Financial Programs and Projects, Carlos Sanchez, an application for the grant was submitted. Approval came within another few weeks and the project was off and running. In just four months, bfi is about to become an example of an environmentally friendly industry to its neighbors and to its customers.
“Green” office solutions is a hot topic right now in the contract office furniture industry. More and more buyers are demanding products that reduce the carbon footprint, are made from recycled material or can be recycled at the end of the product's useful life” says bfi President Dan Morley. “We are proud to offer solutions from leaders in the industry. But we are also very pleased to make the commitment ourselves in our own facilities, and our clients recognize that we ourselves are passionate about being green.”
Everyone wins, and bfi saves green by going green!