The Princeton-Blairstown Center has a deep commitment to sustainability and strives to live and model energy consciousness and resource conservation. Our goal is to develop a sustainable means of living at our Blairstown Campus, which will inspire others to take this philosophy back to their homes, schools, agencies, and communities.
In 2017 PBC joined the New Jersey Sustainable Business Registry. In 2018 Egner Lodge, the Center's dining room, became a Level 3 Certified Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association. Staff and young people are trained in the concept of leave no trace. This core value of sustainability guides decision-making throughout our Blairstown Campus Programs.
Reduced Energy Consumption
- Installation of low water use flushometers;
- Installation of low-flow shower heads;
- Use of 1.5 gpm faucet aerators in sinks;
- Use of 1.07 gpm dish sprayer;
- Use of Energy Star appliances - ice machine, convection over, printer;
- Use of programable thermostats in most buildings;
- Installation of occupancy sensors in most buildings;
- Serving one meal each day with a vegetarian main course;
- Change out of all T12 ballasts to T8;
- Installation of new HVAC system in Egner Lodge (2017) through NJ Clean Energy Program. and
- Relamp/reballast and change out lighting to LED (2017) through NJ Clean Energy Program.
The Center's hydro generator system, currently at the base of the Bass Lake Dam, was completed in 1984 by Walt Hallagan 79’ and his crew of cohorts. Redesigns and updates to the electrical panel and turbine have been completed in recent years to return the hydro generator to operational status after a few years of idleness. When conditions are optimal this system generates between three and four kilowatts of power on a daily basis. This system generates some of the power needed to meet the electrical needs required for the day to day operations of PBC.
The addition of solar panels in the Fall of 2007 to the south facing side of Egner Lodge’s main roof was a major step forward in becoming a more sustainable facility. With the help of Advanced Solar and Ed Seliga ’75, the PBC Board, and the State of New Jersey, the Center installed a 10KW system on the roof. The system has paid for itself ahead of schedule as we sell the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC’s), enjoy overall energy savings and have reduced our carbon footprint. To learn more, visit the following link to see Princeton-Blairstown Center's solar panel energy production.
Reduced Waste Production
- Kitchen composts pre-consumer and post-consumer food scraps, paper towels and paper napkins;
- Recycling of electronics and batteries;
- Whenever possible, biodegradable paper products used in place of plastic disposables, including plates, bowls, and napkins (Greenware); and
- All program and private residences recycle as much as possible including cardboard, steel, paper, glass, aluminum and plastics.
Gardening has been a part of the Center's history for many years. Over time the Center has switched from using synthetic fertilizers to using only organic products to help set the soil for optimal growing conditions. The garden size increased by 25% in 2009 to help reduce food costs and produce healthy organic foods. In 2017, we added a hoop house in order to grow vegetables year-round.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
In 2017, PBC began to purchase fruits and vegetables from local farmers in order to reduce our carbon footprint and support locally grown agriculture.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
In 2015, as part of our new Summer Bridge program, we began teaching daily STEM classes to all students. Topics include a range of subjects like animal habitats, water purification, alternative energy sources, luminescent beetles, our solar system, metacognition, organic gardening, strawberry DNA, vanishing bees, and dissecting owl pellets.
Building & Property Maintenance
- Near total elimination of pesticides through an Integrated Pest Management program;
- Use of aeration equipment and elimination of fertilizers; and
- Replacement of oil-based paints and stains with acrylic and water-based products.