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DCNR Leading with Green Practices to Conserve Natural Resources

October 18, 2017 02:00 PM

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As the state’s leading conservation agency, DCNR strives to protect millions of acres of public lands and waterways -- and to create a sustainable future.

The agency strives to model practices that conserve and sustain our natural resources. Several of these green practices on DCNR lands include:

  • High-performing facilities
  • Solar energy
  • Transportation

Driving Toward Sustainability

During October, Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, DCNR staff, and others visited several locations that showcase the Wolf Administration’s commitment to high-performing buildings and the efficiency of fleet vehicles.

The “Driving Toward Sustainability” tour highlighted green practices already in use, and the road ahead for continued improvement.

Buchanan Forest District Resource Management Center

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Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined State Forester Dan Devlin and other officials in marking the opening of the new Buchanan State Forest headquarters in Fulton County.

The energy-efficient building features exhibits that transform the lobby space into an interactive experience for state forest district visitors.

The secretary shared that Pennsylvania manages state forests using sustainable practices to conserve them for the future, and the new exhibits at the Buchanan center will help tell that story.

The 9,700-square-foot building serves as the district’s office and support center for forestry programming and operations.

The sustainable features of the new building include:

  • Enhanced daylighting and views
  • Automatic energy control systems for efficiency
  • Landscaping with native plants
  • Sustainable stormwater management features

Buchanan State Forest Headquarters Interactive Educational Displays
Like many recent DCNR structures, the new Resource Management Center has been designed under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. As one of DCNR’s 19 LEED-registered projects, it is anticipated the building will receive LEED certification.

With more 4,600 buildings in state parks and forests, DCNR spends millions of dollars on electricity each year. DCNR has pledged to use green and sustainable design techniques for all new and renovated building, infrastructure, and site projects.

Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Charging Stations at Harrisburg’s 5th Street Parking Garage

Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Charging Stations at Harrisburg’s 5th Street Parking Garage
The secretary shared the administration’s commitment to efficiency of fleet vehicles with a visit to charging stations for the department’s newly added electric vehicles in Harrisburg’s 5th Street parking garage.

Eight vehicles and eight charging stations are available for the agency’s use around Harrisburg. Six of these vehicles are plug-in hybrids that run on both gasoline and electric batteries, and two are fully battery electric.

DCNR collaborated with Park Harrisburg and PPL Electric Utilities on this project to create eight Level 2 charging stations for the agency’s use.

DCNR manages more 1,600 vehicles. By focusing on the greening of this fleet, the initiative aims to reduce the amount of carbon emissions it releases into the atmosphere, and decrease fuel costs while increasing the agency’s energy independence.

Solar Array at Caledonia State Park

Caledonia State Park Solar Array
Secretary Dunn and others visited a new small-scale solar array at Caledonia State Park that powers lights and hand dryers for a restroom at the park in its day use area. The restroom sits between two waterways, which made it a difficult location to run a power line.

The solar array is one of five being installed on DCNR lands around the state to take certain buildings and facilities off the grid to save money and reduce the department’s carbon footprint.

By the end of this year, DCNR’s solar installations should:

  • Save more than $30,000 per year on electric
  • Reduce CO₂ emissions by 160 tons per year (the average car emits 6 tons per year)
  • Reduce energy consumption by 220,000 kilowatt hours per year (the average American home uses 10,812 kWh per year)

Learn More and Get Involved

DCNR's green efforts are ramping up, and there is much more we all can do to conserve natural resources in Pennsylvania for future generations.

You can join us in these efforts by learning more about DCNR’s green practices, and consider what you can adopt at home by following iConserve PA on Facebook and Twitter.

You also can sign up for DCNR’s biweekly e-newsletter resource, which offers helpful conservation tips in every issue. 

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