by Bob Henson, AMS Councilor and Chair, AMS Committee on Environmental Stewardship (ACES)
Those of us involved with climate change in our professional lives—researchers, educators, authors, students—often feel the need to “walk the walk” in a demonstrable way. AMS is one of the world’s premier organizations involved with peer-reviewed research on our changing atmosphere, so it’s only fitting that the Society is finding ways to demonstrate its environmental bona fides in its own operations. For example, AMS has been a leader this past decade in working toward “green meetings.” An upcoming BAMS article will feature some green-meeting highlights, and a summary can also be found in the “About AMS” section of the AMS website.
Just in time for the Society’s 100th birthday, AMS has now ensured that the electricity supply in its offices in Boston and Washington, D.C., is effectively 100% renewable. The Boston shift involved working with the nonprofit Green Energy Consumers Alliance (GECA), a spinoff of Massachusetts Energy that works to maximize the use of renewables in the state’s electricity supply.
AMS recently finalized a renewable two-year agreement (retroactive to January 2019) to purchase Class I renewable energy certificates (RECs) from GECA. These certificates are equal to the full amount of electricity consumed at the AMS buildings at 44 and 45 Beacon Street. Each certificate mandates the production of one megawatt hour of renewable energy, documenting where, how, and when the energy (in this case, wind energy) was produced. In 2019, energy providers in Massachusetts were required to purchase in-state Class I RECs for 14% of all electricity they generate, a percentage that goes up each year by 1%. When entities such as AMS also purchase Massachusetts Class I RECs, it further stimulates the market for clean energy. In other words, Massachusetts Class I RECs don’t simply buy green energy that is already government-mandated; they actually promote the creation of new green-energy supplies within the state.
AMS Controller Joe Boyd worked with the AMS Committee on Environmental Stewardship (ACES) to research options for renewable energy at the Boston building and shepherded the final agreement with GECA.
“Given the Society’s strong commitment to environmental issues, it was natural that we include 100% renewable electricity sourcing to our efforts to maintain a small carbon footprint,” says AMS Executive Director Keith Seitter.
In Washington, AMS leases office space within the headquarters of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at 1200 New York Avenue NW. This building’s electrical supply is also effectively 100% renewable, via RECs that are purchased through a Constellation New Energy contract for transmission and generation. (The RECs do not include electric distribution, and the building also uses a small amount of natural gas.)
“ACES continuously strives to promote the Society’s environmentally progressive standards, complementing the research and efforts of AMS members. Thanks to felicitous timing, the Society is celebrating its transition to 100% renewable energy on its 100th anniversary,” says incoming 2020 ACES Chair C. Todd Rhodes (Coastal Carolina University).