Carbon-Free Water?

By Sustainability 
In: Sustainability

The world of water is an exciting place. Water is exciting because we need it, we use it every day, and we’re always chasing after it. As summer peaks, our water and energy consumption peak as well. It takes energy to produce water. More likely than not, that energy comes from fossil fuels and other carbon emitting sources. One-third of all natural gas used in California goes to heating water. Moreover, one-fourth of all electricity is used just in moving water from place to place.

So, what is carbon-free water?

Being carbon-free, or carbon neutral, means that you have achieved a net zero release of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Using water means using energy. Therefore, using clean energy to handle water makes it carbon free. The planet-wide goal is to reduce carbon emissions. Sometimes this task can be daunting, but when there is a will, there is definitely a way!

Did you know that you might have carbon-free water in your own backyard? The Sonoma County Water Agency has adopted a goal to have carbon-free water by 2015. The agency achieved a 97% reduction from their energy use through energy efficiency upgrades on the production side of their water systems. By significantly reducing their energy consumption, the agency is able to provide Sonoma County with carbon-free water!

Here at K-J, we always strive to reduce our overall carbon emissions. As a company, we are proud to say that we use 100% renewable clean energy in our winemaking in order to help create a clean and happy planet.

How do we do it?

We use power from PG&E. Thanks to the requirements under AB 32 in California, they provide some of the cleanest energy in the country using 20% renewable energy now and 30% by 2020. Then, we take it a step further. We purchase renewable energy credits for every kWh of power that we use across all of our operations (38,000 MWH in FY2013). What does this mean? We use energy from the grid , which is a mix of clean and dirty power today. The credits that we purchase offsets our use and puts clean, wind –generated energy back in. The results? Our energy is carbon-free. Much of this is used to handle our water.

Though we purchase a small portion of our water from municipal agencies like the Santa Rosa water department, the vast majority of our water is pumped groundwater. Energy is used to run pumps like these in all of our wineries and several of our vineyards. Because we use 100% clean energy, the majority of our water is carbon-free! More importantly, we stress water conservation in the first place. We have important goals to reduce our overall water and energy uses. By installing water meters and efficiency upgrades, we are able to track our water usage and implement water conservation plans. Even by installing nozzles on our hoses, we are able to save water.

Indeed, we have a long way to go to in sustainability. We continuously strive for improvements and efficiencies in all of our systems. Ultimately, we strive to use less in order to make more wine responsibly.

-Sabrina, sustainability intern