Vertical Bridge REIT, LLC, the largest private owner and operator of communications infrastructure in the United States, today announced that it has realized 100 percent carbon neutrality for the third consecutive year. The Company began a proactive review of its environmental footprint in 2020 which resulted in its initial CarbonNeutral® Certification that year and the subsequent renewal in 2021.
“U.S. carriers and other telecommunications entities are working to reduce their environmental impacts as well as the impact of entities in their value chain, and Vertical Bridge is focused on being a partner in this journey,” said CEO and Co-Founder Alex Gellman. “Environmentally-conscious initiatives have been a core part of our daily operations since our founding in 2014, and we are committed to remaining an industry leader.”
Vertical Bridge currently supports two projects in North America that reduce and remove greenhouse gases and are focused on nature-based climate solutions and recovery, including Mississippi Valley Reforestation, which reforests more than 2.4 million acres of native woodland in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, and Darkwoods Forest Conservation, which protects 156,000 acres of boreal forests in British Columbia, Canada from environmental threats. The company also supports wind power projects in Mexico and several global renewable energy projects. In April, Vertical Bridge partnered with the South Florida Audubon Society for a coastal restoration project and donated $10,000 to the organization to support its conservation work in South Florida.
“Carbon neutrality is vitally important, but we have extended our focus to include active pursuit of a variety of projects across our operations that reduce our impact on the environment and our electricity consumption,” added Gellman.
Among the energy-saving projects Vertical Bridge has underway are an upgrade of its generators and HVACs to newer more efficient models with better SEER ratings and installing LED and avian-friendly lighting across its portfolio of towers, saving electricity, reducing maintenance costs, and leading to fewer avian deaths each year. Vertical Bridge is also innovating with its Custom Nanogrid Solution, which combines solar, wind turbine, and battery technologies to provide onsite power to its towers.
The varied environments and energy needs of each tower preclude the use of off-the-shelf solutions and require customized applications. Vertical Bridge has partnered with three different companies to develop solutions and is currently testing nine nanogrid deployments in California, New York, Washington State and Texas to assess and refine the technology in different environments. The combination of solar, wind, and battery power has reduced onsite electricity consumption by 25-40 percent, and the Company is working directly with operators to conduct surveys on their specific nanogrid needs.
Natural Capital Partners, an independent consultant and leading expert on carbon neutrality and climate finance, worked with Vertical Bridge to do a rigorous assessment of its emissions and carbon footprint, looking at direct emissions from towers and communications infrastructure in its portfolio, offices, business travel, HVAC, material transportation, and other aspects of its business in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol.
By finding innovative energy-saving solutions, Vertical Bridge and its mobile carrier tenants and partners benefit from utility cost savings. In addition, reduced electricity consumption alleviates stress on the power grid and hardens the tower infrastructure against outages and disruptions.