Designtex Carbon Neutrality Initiatives

Designtex Partners with Native Energy, Southern Plains Land Trust to Preserve 6,900 Acres of Prairie in Bent County, Colorado and supports innovative Solar Array in Forest City, Iowa

Designtex is proud to share their latest initiatives in an eleven-year history of carbon neutral operations. In partnership with Native Energy and the Southern Plains Land Trust in Colorado, Designtex has balanced its 2020 operational footprint by investing in the Medford Spring Grasslands Conservation Project in southeastern Colorado. Their offset investment helped the Trust to acquire 6,900 acres of shortgrass prairie in February 2020—land which otherwise would have been converted into cropland, increasing carbon emissions in the process— resulting in the new Medford Spring Grassland Conservation.

Protecting the prairie sequesters carbon in the soil. Just one acre is estimated to store 200 tons of carbon, and grasslands store fully one-third of the Earth’s carbon. When destroyed, the grasslands release 50%-70% of the carbon they hold as the greenhouse gas CO₂.. This conservation effort will prevent approximately 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere over the next fifty years. This unique carbon sequestering and conservation project also has benefits for biodiversity in the region including preserving habitats for rare or endangered species such as black-tailed prairie dogs, re- introduced bison, native swift fox, ferruginous hawks, burrowing owls and Colorado green gentian.

Through the Southern Plains Land Trust, the project allows for public access to the Medford Spring Grassland Conservation for educational events in collaboration with local public schools and the local historical society. Educating about native grasslands will further help to conserve them into the future. To further assure the permanence of the carbon sequestration, the easement also includes a 150-year agreement with the Climate Action Reserve and will be included in an insurance pool that covers any unintentional reversals. The project is aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Climate Action’ and ‘Life on Land’ and follows the Climate Action Reserve Grassland Protocol.

In addition to supporting Medford Spring, Designtex has also supported an innovative renewable energy portfolio project for 2020, to offset its total electricity use. The Forest City Solar Project in Iowa consists of a ground-mounted contiguous array of ~11,900 individual photovoltaic panels. Co-located alongside and underneath these panels are habitats for bees and other pollinators. 75% of crops globally rely on bees and wildlife to move pollen between flowers. These habitats are beneficial for agriculture because native plants capture the stormwater coming off the solar panels and channeling it into groundwater and improving the quality of soil over the life of the project. This pollinator habitat is developed per an Audubon Society standard. This Renewable energy portfolio investment has brought together companies like Designtex, Clif Bar, Lush Cosmetics, Lime Bike, and Stonyfield to help build a range of new, community-scale renewable energy projects like the Forest City Solar array.

Designtex is excited to mark its eleventh year of carbon neutrality with these contributions to the Medford Spring Grassland Conservation, the benefits of which will last into the next century. Learn more about all 11 carbon reduction projects Designtex has supported since 2010 here.

Says Deidre Hoguet, Designtex Director of Applied Research, “After more than a decade of supporting projects that reduce carbon emissions to the atmosphere, we are excited to invest in projects that have ever greater ‘co-benefits,’ such as the pollinator habits planted under solar arrays, or the educational component to the Grasslands conservation project. These extend and reinforce the sustainability benefits from these efforts.” 

About Designtex

Designtex is the leading company in the development, design and manufacturing of applied materials for the built environment. For over fifty years, Designtex has been providing innovative materials to customers around the world. Designtex is a Steelcase company, headquartered in New York City, with national and international locations.