Partners for Green Places

A toddler with a picture book in hand
Two girls solving a puzzle in a classroom

One of the major milestones in time for our agency has been the opportunity to participate in the Partners for Green Places (PGP) community initiative and work to build a more sustainable future through a cross-sector partnership.

PGP was launched in October of 2019 with the goal of encouraging organizations and businesses to commit to energy efficiency and sustainability. Children First was ultimately selected as one of three nonprofit organizations to pilot this prestigious initiative. BRINGING SUNSHINE TO CHILDREN FIRST- having already undertaken several sustainability efforts including solar hot water heaters and energy efficient insulation, PGP created further opportunity for Children First to strengthen its environmental impact by assisting the agency in conducting a detailed energy audit.

“With nearly 90% of our families living below the Federal Poverty Level ($24,860 for a family of three, 2023), these investments from our community partners could not come at a more critical juncture,” says CEO Philip Tavill. “Every efficiency translates into more support for our mission, which means a higher level of service for more children and families. The future looks brighter than ever before as we continue to benefit from ‘bringing sunshine’ to Children First through sustainable energy practices.”

Partners for Green Places is a collaboration amongst the City of Sarasota, Sarasota County, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, and Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The pilot program, seeded by the Partners for Green Places matching grant program, a joint project of The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, grew to include William G. and Marie Selby Foundation and Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Seeing the potential for greater impact, DreamLarge made a catalytic investment in establishing a strategy, brand, and platform to showcase the partnership between philanthropy and sustainability and use it as an inspirational tool to drive awareness and adoption of sustainable measures. 

Energy Improvements

As part of an on-going effort in environmental stewardship for Sarasota County, Children First is working to create a more sustainable future through a cross-sector partnership, Partners for Green Places.

Partners for Green Places investments focused on 3 facilities:  North Port Campus, The Marieb Center, and The Helen R. Payne Center, with North Port being the primary focus for efficiency improvements.  Significant reductions in electricity usage were achieved at these three facilities, in addition to The Dalbeck Center.

The purpose of this document is to:

  1. Summarize Children First’s progress in reducing electricity usage and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at its facilities.

  2. Compare Site Energy Use Intensity (EUI) across CF’s facilities.

Bottom Line:  Children First has made great progress in reducing electricity usage (25%) and GHG emissions (50%), accruing significant dollar savings and environmental benefits.

The following table provides approximate statistics for CF sites (in order of highest to lowest for Energy Use Intensity (EUI):

LocationCurrent Annual Electricity Consumption (KWh)Building's Conditioned Area (sq-ft)Approximate Reduction in Electricity Usage vs. BaselineApproximate Reduction in Electricity-Source GHG Emissions vs. BaselineCurrent Site EUI - All Sources (KBTU/sq-ft)
Marieb - Orange Ave186,70015,6268%95%46.7
Oak Street8,4001,31838%38%21.7
HRP - 33rd Street29,3006,19654%54%16.1
  • Current Electricity Consumption Numbers for Northport were adjusted up to account for Hurricane Ian downtime.

  • Reduction in Usage and GHG emissions are calculated for electricity only (85+% of total), as baseline data for natural gas not fully available.

  • Reduction percentages for Northport, Marieb, and HRP are the most accurate and meaningful, as they compare current electricity usage to usage before P4GP improvements were implemented. For the other sites, the baseline data is for the year before the current year.

Solar PV System

In September of 2021, Children First celebrated the successful installation of new solar panels at the agency’s main campus in Sarasota. The 117.26 kW photovoltaic solar system was completed by Brilliant Harvest.

The solar PV system at Children First’s Marieb facility has now been in service for two years.  It has performed exceptionally well, delivering better than projected savings.

The following table summarizes a number of key performance metrics for both Years 1 and 2.  Comparisons are against a baseline period prior to PGP investments.

What FPL Bill Would Have Been For the 12-Month Period Without Solar or Efficiency Improvements$24,342$27,867
Minus actual FPL Total For the 12-Month Period$8,014$7,512
Total Gross Savings From Solar and Efficiency Improvements$16,328$20,355
Percent of Total Power Usage Produced by the Solar System95.2%95.5%


  1. Performance/Output:  The solar system has performed exceptionally well, with no technical issues whatsoever over the past year.  Power output during Year-2 slightly exceeded expectations, as the 1-2% output degradation that was expected, was not observed.
  2. Peak Demand: The solar system has delivered an approximate 30% reduction in peak demand, plus or minus a couple of percentage points.  Efficiency and conservation have contributed the rest of the reduction, for a total of approximately 35%.