The Center for Discovery inks green energy deal

by Amanda Loviza

HURLEYVILLE – The Center for Discovery consumes more energy annually than the entire hamlet of Hurleyville. It’s a fact that comes with size and 24-hour facilities. This year, for the first time, all that power will come from renewable sources.
The Center has been trying for years to make the switch to solely renewable power, Assistant Vice President for Environmental Policy and Development Tom Burnham said. The Center purchases its energy through bulk annual contracts, and every year, it seeks to obtain that energy from renewable sources, Mr. Burnham said. This January, it finally became cost effective to make the switch. The Center’s energy this year will be fully wind-powered, and it even saved the nonprofit 2 percent in costs.
It is a testament to how far renewable energy has come, Mr. Burnham said, and it is a sustainability milestone The Center for Discovery is pleased to have reached.
“It speaks to who we are,” Mr. Burnham said. “We’re trying to be good stewards of the environment. We know that impacts the people we serve [and] our staff.”
The Center’s underpinning environmental philosophy centers on taking care of the Earth, and providing people with an environment and food that is free from toxins, Mr. Burnham said. From toxin-free paint to organic food, The Center tries to provide a safe and healthy environment for its residents, staff and the surrounding community.
Seeking out renewable energy is a way The Center for Discovery, the largest employer in Sullivan County, can lead by example, Mr. Burnham said. The Center even produces some of its own energy through photovoltaic systems, but that is a small percentage of the energy The Center consumes. Because of how big the agency is, The Center’s energy choices can make a real impact on the greater community, Mr. Burnham said.
“It was just the right choice,” Mr. Burnham said.
Conservation is the best way to make a financial and environmental difference, and Mr. Burnham said he hopes The Center can send a message that conserving energy, investing in safe products and food, and using renewable power are positive choices that are rapidly becoming more