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 on this site since 1910, is proud to have a 15kW grid-connected solar electric system at our store. The 90 panels, when installed, comprised the largest privately owned solar array in Tompkins County. In 2004, with assistance from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), we turned to Renovus Energy, a local provider of renewable energy systems, to design, equip and install the system. As a result of the clean power it produces, roughly 22,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year is displaced from the atmosphere—equivalent to the annual consumption of 32 mature trees.
On the wall near our south entrance is a digital display, which shows instantaneous power output, total energy produced, and quantity of carbon dioxide avoided to date. We hope our system, mounted on a roof 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.
This system does not provide all our power but, at this point, it does what we are able to do. 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 $1.75 per watt and 30% federal income tax to all customer classes (up to 7kW residential, up to 25kW commercial, up to 50kW not-for-profit). They also offer 25% income tax to individuals with solar at their primary residence. Total system costs (before incentives) range from about $8 per watt to $9.50 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, after a year’s time, the customer still 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.