Now in its 21st year, Cape Air is one of the largest independent regional airlines in the United States. Based in Hyannis, MA, the company operates up to 575 flights a day and annually flies more than 610,000 passengers to destinations around the world. This employee-owned company is dedicated to philanthropy and environmental stewardship. With that philosophy in mind, Cape Air has implemented a multi-faceted Green Initiative as part of its long-range business strategy.
Following a detailed energy audit by Cape Light Compact, Cape Air made a goal to reduce electricity usage by 25 percent. The company also introduced measures to make its operations headquarters, the Fleet Building, a net-zero electricity facility in which the building will produce energy equal to what the building consumes.
These measures include:
Energy efficiency improvements to lighting and vending machines
Re-insulation of the building’s 50,000 square foot roof
Installation of a 258 kw solar photovoltaic (PV) array – the largest in Southeastern Massachusetts – on the building’s roof
Energy upgrades included installation of lighting relay panels, occupancy sensors, photocells, override switches and control sensors. Cape Air also installed misers that plug into vending machines to reduce energy, while still maintaining proper food and beverage temperatures. Together, these measures can reduce Cape Air’s annual electricity consumption by more than 60,000 kWh.
In just a few months, Cape Air has increased productivity at the facility while lowering its energy costs. Due to enhanced roofing insulation, natural gas consumption has gone down 15 percent. In its first six months, the solar PV system has already outperformed predictions, generating 121,202 kWh of electricity and offsetting approximately 209,000 pounds of CO2. Based on its performance since switch-on in August 2010, Cape Air anticipates that in its first year, the system will produce 90 percent of the building’s electricity.
Cape Air has appointed a Green Initiative Program Director to oversee project activities and monitor results. The next phase includes a retrofit of the heating system, as well as upgrades to the building’s shell, windows and doors. The project provides highly visible evidence of Cape Air’s commitment to renewable energy, and serves a model for other businesses looking to reduce energy consumption and save costs.