Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is excited to announce that since the beginning of 2017, it has helped over 1,000 households convert their home electricity source to fossil-free renewable energy through its Make the Switch at Phipps! Green Power Drive in partnership with Green Mountain Energy(GME). When guests make the switch during their visit to the Conservatory, they receive a free, year-long family/household membership, and existing members receive a free six-month extension.

Powering the average U.S. home emits about 7 tons of carbon dioxide annually, so at the end of a year and each year thereafter, these guests will have prevented 7,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions with the help of Phipps and GME. That is equivalent to an annual savings of 93 tanker trunks worth of gasoline from being burned, 16,206 barrels of oil from being burned, or 16,776,589 miles from being driven by an average passenger car. 

“Using renewable energy makes sense and it’s a great way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” said Richard Piacentini, executive director of Phipps. “When people work together collectively, they can make a big impact.”

Nearly nine out of 10 Phipps guests surveyed in 2016 consider climate change a threat now or in the future, but the topic can be so daunting that it is easy to feel as though one person cannot make an impact. Phipps wants to show guests that making a difference can be easier that one may imagine. Representatives from GME are stationed in the Conservatory every day from 11:30 a.m. to close, and all day on weekends, to help make the switch simple and easy for guests. The difference they make is significant — for each year a household uses green power, it removes as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as 6.6 acres of forest.

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Note: 1 ton of carbon dioxide is equal to 2.3 barrels of oil burned. Additional equivalents can be found on the EPA website.

About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa. is a green leader among public gardens with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Learn more: