Pitango Gelato Goes Solar

Pitango Gelato has been committed to eco-friendly practices since the company opened its doors in 2007. Now, in addition to the measures Pitango already takes to reduce energy and minimize waste, the company’s dairy facility in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has converted to solar power.

The dairy is located on Spring Wood Organic Farm, where a single herd of grass-fed cows supplies all of the milk and cream used in Pitango’s organic gelato. The farm’s new solar panels  are generating enough electricity to operate the farm and the dairy.

Aside from long-term economic incentives, Spring Wood owner Roman Stoltzfoos decided to go solar to reduce the farm’s carbon footprint. “It is a substantial investment for us, but it is clearly the right thing to do to make the farm and the dairy greener,” he says. “We’ll be using much less fossil fuel for what we have to do.”

The farm even uses a solar panel on its high-tech “Egg-Mobile,” which houses free-range hens that provide the daily supply of freshly laid eggs used in some of Pitango’s recipes. The hen house on wheels with solar-powered feeders, lights, egg laying boxes, and doors “delivers all of the modern bells and whistles,” says Stoltzfoos, “with minimal environmental impact.”

“It’s not always easy being green,” says Pitango Gelato founder and CEO Noah Dan. “A large component of our product is energy, so naturally we think about it all the time. For us, being green is being smart, and finding a path to improve our product and its sustainability is our ultimate goal.”

The shift toward solar on the farm is only one example of Pitango’s energy-efficient practices. Pitango’s custom-made bancone (gelato cases) used in each shop are liquid-cooled by glycol–an energy-retaining liquid derived from corn. Once the glycol is adequately cooled, it requires very little energy to maintain a temperature that is optimal for storing the gelato at the perfect consistency, with each flavor in its own sealed compartment. Dan estimates that Pitango’s bancone consume as little as one-tenth of the electricity of comparable air-cooled display cases. Pitango also uses biodegradable serving cups, coffee cups and gelato spoons.

Pitango matches its eco-friendly practices with a commitment to create a healthier product. The company’s artisanal gelato contains less fat than premium ice cream, while its sorbets contain no dairy products and are vegan and fat-free.

Made with ingredients, from fresh local fruit to organic chocolate, Pitango’s products contain no flavorings, colorings, or chemicals of any kind.

Green June Events

The heat is on for a few excellent green events in June. Here are our picks:

Eco Israel
A delegation of environmental activists and educators from Israel will conduct several interactive workshops to help make your life more green and inform you about environmental challenges facing Israel. Topics include: Israel’s carbon footprint, herb gardening, and green projects for disadvantaged populations. Free Israeli snacks will be provided by Israeli Harvest.

When: Sunday June 6th, 11:30 am
Where: Washington DCJCC, 1529 16th Street NW
RSVP

Green Drinks
This month GreenDrinksDC celebrates its first Go Green–Enroll Now! party. Clean Currents and GreenDrinksDC are teaming up to encourage you to convert to wind power for your home. Just bring your Pepco account number and they can sign you up on the spot.

When: Monday June 7th, 6:30-9:30
Where: 1905 Restaurant, 1905 9th Street NW

Solar Bethesda Expo
Bethesda Green, a local non-profit model for sustainable living practices, is launching its inaugural Solar Bethesda Expo, which will feature solar providers, cooperative purchasers, government and financing specialists, and more. Homeowners and others will have an opportunity to get the latest information about solar-powered technologies, purchasing and investment opportunities, and incentives for home installation.

When: Saturday, June 12, 2010, 10 am – 4 pm
Where: 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200, Bethesda

Sustainability Hour
Organized by the Sustainable Business Network (SB NOW), this event is perfect for meeting and networking with individuals representing businesses, non-profits, government agencies, and entrepreneurs who are not only committed to promoting sustainable practices, but also to developing business opportunities and expanding their networks.

When: Monday, June 14, 2010, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Where: Sonoma, 222 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Cost: $10; RSVP and more information

Find out about even more green events from our friends over at GreenListDC.

Open Green House

Yes, the market is lousy but that doesn’t mean you should forgo your comittment to leaving a smaller footprint if you’re in the market for a new home. Enter Capitol Solar Condos on Harvard Street in Columbia Heights. There are three units starting at $499,000 for a 2 bedroom.

Claiming to be the first solar powered condos in DC, each unit also features Energy Star stainless steel appliances, bamboo floors, tankless water heaters, elongated soft flow dual flush toilets, motion sensor lighting and compact fluorescent lighting. And did we also mention they’re pretty stylin’ too? Btw–if you do end up buying one of these little beauties, tell Jen we sent ya.