Sanford Burnham Prebys completes major renewable energy upgrades

| Written by Miles Martin
John Reed with the new solar panels

Campus just got a lot more productive.

Sanford Burnham Prebys recently completed a sweeping round of solar energy upgrades, including the installation of 1,690 solar panels, and 50 car charging stations, which are now available for employee use. These upgrades, which also include the implementation of new power storage infrastructure, are the latest in a series of major sustainability projects spearheaded by Sanford Burnham Prebys over the last two decades.  

“Energy is one of the most important resources we have, and a critical part of supporting the Institute’s biomedical research is making sure our facilities can use and maintain that resource sustainably,” says John Reed, director of facilities at Sanford Burnham Prebys. “If we can benefit employees in the process by giving them access to electric car charging and saving them some gas money, that’s just a bonus.” 

The upgrades will save a significant amount of energy for the Institute and could reduce yearly carbon emissions by as much as 696 metric tons. According to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, this is as much as the yearly emissions of 83 average homes.

“This is a major shift in the way our Institute consumes energy,” adds Reed.

The new solar panels cover the roofs of Building 5, 6, and 7, as well as the parking structure, known informally to employees as Building 8. 

“It’s a bit of a joke that Building 8 is the least productive place on campus since it’s always just been a parking structure,” says Reed. “But with these upgrades, we won’t be able to say that anymore.”

This is not the first time Sanford Burnham Prebys has shown itself to be a leader in sustainability. In 2015, Sanford Burnham Prebys was recognized as a national trailblazer in water conservation after a decade-long initiative to reduce waste by using recycled water for irrigation and cooling, as well as repurposing  wastewater from water purification systems. The Institute also replaced its tropical plants with drought-resistant landscaping in 2007.

Employees interested in using the car charging ports for their electric vehicle will need to download the PowerFlex app on their mobile device, create an account with their institutional email address and provide some information about the vehicle. See for more information.

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