facility—including its operations—
consumes (see Figure 1).
Bob Mehmet, president and CEO,
isn’t sure when he’s going to get an-
other power bill. “We haven’t gotten an
electric bill since July 2011. We pro-
duce well over what we use.”
The astute businessman didn’t set
out to pursue net zero energy, and
don’t go mistaking him for a granola-
munching tree hugger.
“We wanted to get as much solar
power as we could. It just happened to
work out that way,” Mehmet said.
“We just heard about net zero three
months ago, and we realized, ‘Well,
that’s what we are,’” said David Sheffield, environmental services manager
and project lead engineer.
Mehmet added, “First and foremost,
just so everybody knows, we did this
because it made good business sense.
Second to that is that we do want to
manufacture as green as possible–or
completely green. Our customers are
demanding it and wanting it more and
more. That is the wave of the future.”
“We just heard about net zero three months ago,
and we realized, ‘Well, that’s what we are.’”
—David Sheffield, Philadelphia Sign Co.
Building a Business Case
for Net Zero
Model. Near the plant is a brownfield
site that PPL Renewable Energy, in partnership with the Pennsauken Sanitary
Landfill and Aluminum Shapes LLC,
converted to a renewable-energy park.
The park comprises a 2.6-MW photovoltaic (solar) ground mount system and
a 2.8-MW methane gas-to-energy plant.
The park’s solar array provided a
model for the manufacturer, both in
terms of estimating power generation
capacity and longevity.
“As we began to make our business
case for doing this, the proximity to the
Pennsauken Sanitary Landfill made it
pretty easy for us to investigate. We
knew that it [solar] was a technology
that would withstand New Jersey weath-
er,” Sheffield said, which was one con-
cern because the plant’s location on
the bank of the Delaware River makes
it vulnerable to extreme weather, includ-
ing lightning strikes.