Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf Announce LED Energy-Saving Initiative at Annual Governor’s Residence Earth Day Celebration

April 22, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – In accordance with Governor Wolf’s 2019 GreenGov Executive Order, Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf today announced a new LED lighting initiative during the third annual public Earth Day celebration at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg.

“We are proud to announce that the Governor’s Residence has taken important steps to convert all interior lighting from traditional bulb to energy-saving, efficient LEDs,” the First Lady said. “The return on investment for these new bulbs will occur in just six months – a smart move from both an environmental and economic standpoint.”

The governor and first lady were joined at the Earth Day Celebration by Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, and Department of General Services (DGS) Secretary Curt Topper.

“Celebrating Earth Day is a great way to appreciate the tremendous natural environment we have in Pennsylvania and set an example for how everyone can reduce their carbon footprint to help protect it,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “With signs of climate change increasing, Governor Wolf has set state goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and all Pennsylvanians have a part to play. DEP is committed to leading by example in our offices and to providing guidance and funding that enable other state and local leaders, business owners, community organizations, and citizens to take action.”

Governor Wolf’s GreenGov Executive Order requires Pennsylvania to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050. Governor Wolf has also established the GreenGov Council to improve energy efficiency across Commonwealth agencies, reducing Pennsylvania’s climate change contributions and saving taxpayers money. The Department of Environmental Protection has released strategies to lower greenhouse gas emissions through increased solar power energy and increased use of electric and alternative fuel vehicles.

Secretary Dunn noted DCNR’s contributions to the Governor’s Residence and the Earth Day gathering, including planter boxes made by the Pennsylvania Outdoors Corps; installation and planting of a rain garden; and distribution of free white pine seedlings to residence visitors.

“Whether it’s energy conservation or waterways protection, the enhancements seen, and information offered here today are directly in line with our department’s mission,” Dunn said, “DCNR is proud to be a partner in this annual observation.”

Pennsylvania Department of General Services Secretary Curt Topper noted that through the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA), the commonwealth has made an $89.9 million investment in 10 projects to renovate state facilities with energy efficiency measures that once complete, will result in carbon dioxide emissions being cut by approximately 17,000 tons which is the equivalent of more than 37,000 trees planted annually, removing over 3,100 cars off the road yearly and the annual energy usage of 1,500 homes. In addition, the completed projects will produce $4.6 million in savings annually.

The program enables the commonwealth to take on energy efficiency projects at state facilities paying for them over time with the annual savings from reduced utility consumption, rather than using commonwealth funds for upfront capital investments.

“Through the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act Program, the state reduces our carbon footprint, lowers our energy bills to fund new construction projects and ultimately generates savings for the commonwealth,” Topper noted. “We are not only protecting the environment, but we are also protecting the use of taxpayer dollars. It’s a true win-win for everyone involved.”

Additional green features of the Governor’s Residence interior and grounds include:

  • Rain barrels. The Residence utilizes several rain barrels placed strategically throughout the property to reuse and prevent storm water runoff.
  • Solar panels on south-facing roof of Residence. The panels provide not only a source of clean electricity to the Residence, but also an uninterrupted power supply of renewable energy for critical communications systems.
  • Ground source heat pump (GSHP) system, which replaced existing electric resistance heating. GSHP systems, also called geothermal heat pumps, concentrate existing heat, rather than burning fossil fuels to release energy. The GSHP system provides heat as well as supplemental cooling to the Residence.
  • Reduction of paper products where possible. This includes a major reduction in the use of paper plates, paper and plastic cups, and bottled water daily at events held at the Residence.
  • Recycling of glass, plastic, paper, and cardboard.
  • Herb and vegetable gardens. The Residence is currently home to an herb garden and raised vegetable beds, the produce from which is used for cooking at the Residence.
  • Hydroponic garden. To address the need for fresh herbs and vegetables that do not grow well on the Residence grounds or are needed for events in harsh winter months, Residence staff recently built an indoor hydroponic garden.
  • Working and observation beehives. In additional to honey-producing beehives, the Residence installed observation beehives in 2017 so children can view the honey-making process and learn how important bees are to the environment and how the honey for culinary purposes at the Residence.
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