How green is your board?

A five-part story series revealing the carbon
footprint of a Jones board.

Made with 100% solar power

How powerful is the sun? Let's put it in perspective.

There are supposedly 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the observable universe. Depending on where you’re from, that’s one septillion, or one quadrillion. Either way, it's 24 zeros.

The amount of watts of energy produced by the sun in one second is a number 380 times larger than the number of stars in the universe! The one second energy output of the sun is estimated at 384.6 septillion watts.

Hard to fathom that many zeros right? Here’s another way to think about it.

In one second the sun generates enough energy to power mankind’s current energy needs for five hundred thousand years. Think about how long 2020 felt like it lasted - an eternity right?! Now multiply that amount of time by five and add six zeros - an eternity of eternities!

The sun is the single greatest clean energy source our planet will ever know. And it’s just right there, shining on us every day. If we can learn to more efficiently tap into the sun's power for all human civilization's energy needs our planet would look forward to a much healthier future.

And that is why we are beyond stoked to announce some amazing news about the energy demands of our snowboard production!

As of May 2020, all Jones snowboards and splitboards are made with 100% solar power!

How did we accomplish this? Our factory partner, SWS Board Sports based in Dubai, UAE, installed a huge solar array on their factory last spring. The rooftop array contains 1394 photovoltaic panels and can produce over 880 MWh per year. This in-house solar system takes care of over 95% of the factory's energy needs. To cover the remaining 5% of the factory's energy demands, we pay a surcharge to the Dubai power company to fulfill all the electricity we take from the municipal grid with clean solar energy.

Coupled with the climate in Dubai, a region that sees sunny weather nearly 70% of all daylight hours in a year, this new solar array is an absolutely game changing new energy source for our snowboard production.

On a sunny day, the SWS solar system has the potential to produce 550 kWh. That's enough power to assemble 60 snowboards in a single hour of collecting sunshine!

This move to 100% solar power made an absolutely massive reduction in the carbon footprint of our production.

Before the installation of the solar system, our electricity draw from the Dubai power grid accounted for 35% of the carbon footprint of our production. By switching to all solar power, electricity now accounts for only 6% of the carbon footprint of our production!

Looking at our carbon footprint on a different scale, we estimate that the switch to 100% solar allowed us to make an 89% reduction in kilograms of CO2 for our 2021 production cycle compared to our 2020 production cycle, a saving of 350,000 Kg C02. What does that represent? That's the quantity of C02 emitted by a regular passenger car while driving around the world 27 times.

Know what else we're proud of? It's not just our factory that runs on solar power.

Both our headquarters in Switzerland and California also run on 100% solar!

While SWS was busy installing solar panels on the factory in Dubai last spring, the Nidecker Group, who manages the production of all Jones snowboards, was busy installing solar panels on the Nidecker office in Rolle, Switzerland. There are more cloudy days in Switzerland than Dubai, but the Alps see enough sun to easily cover all the office energy needs, and give power back to the local energy grid.

In the month of July 2020, the new Nidecker solar system produced 6.31 MWh. The average family, in the average house uses 12 MWh of power every year. This relatively small solar power system produces enough energy to cover all the office energy needs and the energy needs of another three houses for a year!

At the Jones headquarters in Truckee, California, we have the option to choose where our power comes from. Since 2014, we have chosen to cover all our California office energy needs with 100% clean energy generated by regional solar and wind power plants.

Making the switch to 100% solar power has taken years of planning, and has not been easy or inexpensive, but we knew all along it would be worth all the cost and effort. This is the biggest move we’ve ever made to improve the sustainability of our snowboards, and we’re thrilled that the day is finally here, that we can look up at the sun, and celebrate that the same light that guides us through the mountains, is also building our boards.

Now we’ve optimized how our board production is powered, we plan to adopt the same approach for our other product lines – bindings, apparel, and bags.

Next up, learn about how the transportation of materials and finished product affects a snowboard’s carbon footprint in part two of the ‘How Green Is Your Board?’ series.

Source Information:

This story uses data generated by Ecochain, our partner from the Netherlands who helped us analyze the life cycle and calculate the carbon footprint of a Jones snowboard. Ecochain uses the ecoinvent database and the ReCiPe calculation method for their analysis. If you have any questions about the results presented in this story please let us know in the comments

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