ORGANICS & FAIR TRADE
Mindful of the demands worldwide on agricultural resources, we have moved to incorporate organic flours in many of our fine breads. You will find notations of this information on the item cards for each kind. Our Cayuga Coffee is 100 percent Fair Trade-certified and nearly all organic; the only coffees that aren’t organic are the two flavored varieties we offer—Hazelnut and French Vanilla—simply because the flavoring agents are not certified organic.
The Ithaca Bakery, in business since 1910, is proud to have two solar electric systems installed at our store. The first is a 15kW grid-connected system installed in 2004. With assistance from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Ithaca Bakery turned to Renovous Energy, a local provider of renewable energy systems, to provide design, equipment and installation of the system. The carbon dioxide that is displaced from the atmosphere as a result of the clean power produced is roughly 22,000 pounds per year, or the equivalent consumption of 32 mature trees. The second system, completed by Renovus in December 2012 is 31.46 kW, more than double the output of the first.
On the wall near the front door are displays for the systems showing instantaneous power output, total energy produced, and quantity of cabon dioxide avoided to date. We hope the array of panels, some mounted on a roof that is fully visible from the main parking lot, will encourage people to take a greater interest in sustainable alternatives to traditional energy, which mostly comes from limited resources that pollute the environment as they are used.
These systems do not provide all our power but, at this point, they do what we are able, and some renewable energy is a lot better than none. By now, everyone should know the dangers of relying on imported finite resources for our energy needs. We are extremely grateful to NYSERDA for their financial assistance and to Renovus Energy for guiding us through the process.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW CAN YOU MAKE SOLAR POWER IN ITHACA? IT’S SO CLOUDY!
Compared to Phoenix, Arizona, with an annual average of 6.6 hours of full sun per day, Ithaca gets an average of 3.8 hours per day. So, Phoenix is not even twice as sunny as Ithaca. Also, solar electric systems continue to make useful amounts of power even on completely cloudy days.
HOW MUCH POWER DOES IT TAKE TO POWER A HOUSE?
In Ithaca, a household of four can consume between 10 and 100 kWh (kilowatt-hours) of electricity per day, depending on the occupants’ habits. Average usage is probably around 30 kWh per day, where little or no attention is given to efficiency or conservation measures. With relatively little effort and expense, the electric usage of most households can be cut in half. Simply divide your monthly electric bill by 30 (days) to get your daily kWh usage.
HOW BIG A SOLAR ARRAY WOULD THAT BE?
To meet 100 percent of a 30 kWh per day demand would require a 10 kW (kilowatt) system—about two-thirds the size of the Ithaca Bakery system. To meet the needs of a more efficient household using 10 kWh per day would require a bit more than 3 kW of solar—about one-fifth the size of the Ithaca Bakery system. A system of this size often fits nicely on an average rooftop.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST AND HOW MUCH IS THE INCENTIVE?
Currently, NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research & Development Authority) offers $1.40 per watt (up to 7kW residential, up to 50kW commercial).There is a 25% state tax credit (max. $5,000) for residential systems. Commercial systems enjoy accelerated depreciation. There is also a 30% federal tax credit for residential and commercial systems. Total system costs, before incentives, range from about $4.50 per watt to $6.00 per watt.
CAN I SELL THE POWER BACK TO THE UTILITY?
Yes. New York and most other states have “net-metering” legislation under which utilites are required to credit customer-generators for excess power production. Net-metering allows utility customers with solar (or wind) generators to run their meters backwards on sunny (or windy) days and build up a credit toward later usage (nights or very gloomy days). If the customer shows a credit, then the utility will pay for that excess generation at the wholesale electric rate.
For more information visit: http://renovusenergy.com
Through the growing efforts of Cayuga Compost, we participate in sending the substantial food scraps from our kitchen and bakery to be composted. Also, customers have the choice of reusable or compostable cutlery and plates. In the recent renovation of the Ithaca Bakery production plant and retail store, we have established an easily usable location for customers to deposit any of their food waste and compostable utensils in containers that can be ultimately directed to composting.
Bins for recycling have been a feature of our business since Day One. They’re available in all our stores, receiving glass, cans, plastic, paper products and newsprint. We also have recycling containers for our kitchens and bakery, and for all our office personnel. Re-use of scrap paper is encouraged from the top down and mail sent between the stores is usually in envelopes that have been used and re-used again.
The question of utensils and dishes made from recycled material is complex. As our society grows more cognizant of the issues involved and, at the same time, as prices of almost everything rise, the factors in this area are in flux. Where we have become accustomed to items being labeled or rated as being made of recycled material, in the near future, we will likely be seeing a rating of an item’s “carbon footprint.” This will take into account what’s involved in production of given items and how far they must travel to reach us.
That said, we can state at this point that most all of our printed matter—flyers, newsletters, brochures, comment cards—makes use of recycled stock. The plates, bowls and cups we use for serving our food, soup and coffee are, in some cases, partly recycled material, and they themselves are recyclable. Our cold-beverage cups and one take-out clamshell are made of corn, entirely compostable. In cutlery, we offer customers a choice of metal utensils, which can be returned for washing and reuse. We also sell a variety of travel mugs, good for either hot or cold drinks; when customers buy these mugs, their first fill is free. Subsequent fills of coffee in our mugs enjoy a dime off; in travel mugs from other businesses, the discount is five cents.