Texas Community Opts for Cleaner Energy, Better Schools

Texas Community Opts for Cleaner Energy, Better Schools

Shadow Creek Ranch, a master-planned residential area in Pearland, Texas, has become the first wind-powered community in the state of Texas. Freedom Seal, a home certification program focused on cleaner, more energy efficient building standards, partnered with Green Mountain Energy Company on the project.

"What we've done here is create an opportunity for the community to do some good now and for future generations," said David Goswick, managing director of Freedom Seal. "All the homes in the master planned community consume thirty percent less energy than traditionally built homes, and now we are able to offer community residents wind energy that is totally reliable at an affordable rate. We selected Green Mountain Energy Company as our power partner based on their commitment and leadership in providing cleaner energy."

By signing up for Green Mountain Energy electricity, a Pearland resident with average monthly electricity usage of 1,000 kilowatt-hours can help avoid nearly 18,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, equivalent to about 20,000 miles not driven in a year. This would be like taking nearly 2 cars off the road for an entire year to avoid the same amount of CO2. Upon completion, Shadow Creek Ranch will have over 10,000 homes. Based on these figures, the potential yearly CO2 emissions impact of Shadow Creek Ranch would be roughly equivalent to the removal of about 15,600 automobiles traveling nearly 200 million miles.

To help Pearland and Shadow Creek Ranch achieve its clean air mission, Green Mountain Energy Company and Freedom Seal have designed the "Save Watt" program for schools. Save Watt is a comprehensive education and community action program designed for students to learn more about choices that can be made to help reduce air pollution and encourage energy conservation -- essentially, save watts. Additionally, the program allows schools to raise money for important projects.

The program has three basic components: a curriculum designed for students and adults to learn more about clean air solutions to educate the community; an activity component where students identify energy waste and savings opportunities in their home; and a fundraising component that provides community residents the opportunity to raise money for the school and the community by signing up for pollution-free electricity generated by the wind from Green Mountain Energy Company. The money raised may be used for school and community projects, books, and a nature center, to name a few. Green Mountain Energy Company and The Freedom Seal of Approval created the program in collaboration with the school and volunteer parents.

"What better way to educate our future generations while at the same time doing something now for our community," said Tom Reid, mayor of Pearland. "Folks are making the right choice by purchasing a clean home, saving money, and helping the school achieve its fundraising goals. Everyone wins."

Texas led the nation in CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants in 2003 -- accounting for more than 254 million tons of CO2 emissions, similar to adding an additional 44 million cars to Texas roads. Many Texas power plants consistently rank among the ten worst in terms of CO2 and other emissions that contribute to smog, acid rain, global warming and other adverse environmental consequences, based on 2003 data from the EPA.