SC fares well when it comes to going green
May 2, 2011
RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - For more than 40 years, April 22nd has been set aside around the globe to celebrate Earth Day.
Environmental awareness and technology have come a long way since the first Earth Day in 1970, and you might be surprised by how much progress the Palmetto State has made in going green.
The building may be a place for art-lovers, but the roof of Columbia's Art Museum is a place for those who love the art of green technology.
The solar panel array has been up and running since December. "Just in the first month of monitoring they were able to generate 4,500 kilowatt hours of energy from these solar panels," said Ashlie Lancaster of the SC Energy Office.
You can spot more solar panels on the roof of Palmetto Health Richland Hospital. They are the result of a joint effort with Richland County. The county has been carrying out a range of green energy projects, which have been paid for - in large part - by more than $2 million in federal stimulus funds.
Sustainability coordinator Anna Lange said people have begun to embrace environmental awareness. They are taking advantage of programs like the one that's allowed hundreds to swap their gas-powered lawnmowers for electric models and turn in their old-style light bulbs for CFL's. "We launched this program in November," said Lange, "Since November, we've had three different events where we've had over 3,000 light bulbs that we've already exchanged."
The City of Columbia has green efforts of its own. City leaders have a program aimed at planting 10,000 trees. "It's definitely a pocketbook issue," said Lange, "I mean we've seen a tough economy in South Carolina this year."
Lange said many now realize there are some hard economic benefits to being earth-friendly. "The reality for us is that the more money that we're spending keeping the lights on, the less money that we're able to provide services with - the less money that we're able to employ staff," she said.
So how does South Carolina stack up compared to other states? The US Green Building Council said the Palmetto State is now number five among the states when it comes to square footage of leed-certified or environmentally-friendly commercial and institutional buildings.
(taken from wistv.com