Tree-Free is a transparent, environment-friendly greeting card company and is based in the town of Swanzey, New Hampshire. The company has grown significantly in its eighteen years of existence and now employs eleven staff members. The company applied for a loan from the Community Development Finance Authority’s Clean Energy Fund to be able to switch to solar energy in their printing and production facilities.
Tree-Free has a firm commitment to be a sustainable company that is dedicated to using natural resources responsibly. It has been using post-consumer recycled paper for all its products, and has adopted state-of-the-art printing technology to save 10 tons of paper annually.
Further, it also sources paper from suppliers that use wind energy and wood-pulp from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as part of an initiative to be carbon-neutral. However, until recently Tree-Free was using approximately 60,000 kWh of electricity on-site that was not from renewable sources. This was not only the missing link in Tree-Free’s sustainability plan but also costing them $9000 per year for electricity use.
Tree-Free was approved for a loan of $206,000 through the Clean Energy Fund’s Enterprise Efficiency Fund (EEF) in June 2015. Thanks to the financial assistance provided by the Clean Energy Fund, the company was able to leverage another $45,000 from other sources and install a twenty-panel solar photovoltaic array for their on-site operations.
Tree-Free is currently powered entirely by the sun as a result of its collaboration with CDFA’s Clean Energy Fund. Besides being able to save an estimated $235,000 over the next 25 years on electricity costs, the company can today claim to be completely carbon-neutral in its printing and production process and set an example for other manufacturing units in the state.
The amount of electricity usage that the Clean Energy Fund has been able to transition from fossil-fuel based to renewable sources through this project is enough to power 10 average New England homes. The project is also estimated to offset about 60,000 pounds of carbon pollution every year, which is the equivalent of taking 7 cars off the road each year.