The National Tropical Botanical Garden recently announced it is launching a crowdfunding campaign with WEfficiency, an online lending platform powered by the Blue Planet Foundation, to increase the energy efficiency of its Botanical Research Center in Kalaheo.
The campaign will be at www.wefficiency.org from March 30 to May 30.
“I am really excited about this WEfficiency campaign because it is going to allow us to create a more efficient building which is completely in line with our mission. It also allows us to save up to $60,000 annually in electric costs that we can reinvest in our educational programs and research,” NTBG CEO and Director Chipper Wichman said.
The Botanical Research Center at NTBG headquarters was the first LEED-Gold certified building constructed on Kaua‘i. It houses a herbarium with more than 70,000 plant specimens, a botanical library, and seed bank.
The building also contains a Rare Book Room with an irreplaceable collection of botanical prints, illustrations and volumes dating back to the 1500s.
As a LEED-certified building the BRC was designed with sustainability in mind and the ability to withstand a category-5 hurricane to protect the invaluable resources inside. However, the current climate and humidity control system costs NTBG nearly $120,000 in electricity annually and replacing it with a newer system using state-of-the-art technology would save half of that cost each year.
The WEfficiency Hui, a group of philanthropic organizations and individuals eager to leverage the power of efficiency to help nonprofits save energy and money, has already committed up to $110,000 in matching funds to help boost the campaign. Among the contributors are The Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Kokua Hawaii Foundation, The Weissman Family Foundation, ABC Stores and sustainability advocate and community leader Randy Ching.
“WEfficiency multiplies the impact of every dollar that supporters contribute to nonprofits,” program manager David Aquino said. “By tapping into the power of efficiency — which pays off immediately and continues year after year — nonprofits, like NTBG, can reallocate their resources toward services that really matter for our community.”
Partnering with WEfficiency for the campaign will enable NTBG to raise the funding needed to upgrade the climate control system in the BRC, saving over 139,000 kilowatt hours and more than 230 barrels of oil per year. Additionally, the funds saved will be used to support NTBG in protecting our environment for this generation and the next.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Blue Planet Foundation’s WEfficiency program for this campaign because of their commitment to energy efficiency. They are a part of our local community and have helped many nonprofit organizations in Hawai‘i meet their fundraising and sustainability goals,” said Kathy Hong, NTBG Director of Philanthropy.
WEfficiency’s online lending platform allows anyone to make a donation to a nonprofit’s energy saving project, but what sets the platform apart is the ability to loan money to the campaign, get repaid and repeat the impact across multiple projects. Like many other crowd-funding platforms, NTBG must raise 100 percent of the $280,086 goal to receive any funding.
NTBG is a network of diverse gardens and a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching life through discovery, scientific research, education, and conservation of tropical plants.