Small Business Owner Fights Global Warming
April 14, 2010
SAUGERTIES, NY — Total Tennis, a 73-acre year round tennis camp in the Catskills, has added a new goal to its business plan—reducing greenhouse gases.
Ed Fondiller, the director of Total Tennis who began incorporating recycling, composting, and energy saving measures into his business years ago, has installed a solar panel field that will provide the facility with clean, renewable electricity. A ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the solar panel field will be held on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010.
“We’re very conscious of the environment,” Fondiller said. “It’s the driving force for most of the decisions we’ve made in our business in the last five years.”
Fondiller has identified cost-effective ways to protect the environment while running a thriving business and he’s challenging other small business owners to do the same. He believes that the state and federal tax credits and rebates now available have made such measures economically feasible.
“Environmental projects accomplish a multitude of goals,” Fondiller said. “They create jobs, stimulate the economy, clean up the environment, and make the country energy independent. This is where government and private sector dollars should be invested.”
Total Tennis applied to New York State’s NYSERDA Program for two rebates totaling $344,840 for two electrical meters. Total Tennis’ solar project contractor, Solar Generation, has already received 75% of the total rebates from NYSERDA. The balance will be paid to Solar Generation once the system is operative.
The business also has applied for a 30 percent grant in lieu of a tax credit from the Department of Treasury’s new 1603 Program, which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The federal grant will be approved upon the completion and operation of the solar array. Fondiller is financing 25 percent of the project through his bank.
It’s estimated that the field of 468 solar panels will provide 30 percent of Total Tennis’ annual electrical needs and enable the business to sell the excess electricity produced back to the grid. In the winter, the solar field could produce the entire electrical needs of the lodge, and 75 percent of the power needed to operate the 31,200 square foot tennis building that houses five indoor courts.
“Businesses have to start doing this,” Fondiller said. “Other nations are doing it. If we don’t, a good portion of the world will be under water. The life of everyone is going to be affected by climate change. Out of control CO2 levels are not only responsible for rising air and ocean temperatures. Melting glaciers all over the globe are leading to food shortages, eroding farmland, and expanding deserts, which are causing a rise in poverty, disease, unrest, and dislocation and will ultimately result in political instability.”
Fondiller credits his wife, Kate Doran, an environmentalist he met at the California Tennis Camp in Schuylerville, NY, in 1975 with bringing recycling into his life, and childhood asthma for making him aware of the need for clean air. During the last decade, articles, radio shows, and television programs about global warming left him determined to take action.
Four years ago, Fondiller converted his facility’s old furnaces and boilers to 95 percent efficient heating units, and replaced all the windows in the three main buildings with energy efficient windows.
Total Tennis reduced the garbage it produces by composting, even using paper napkins that are compostable. Guests receive their own 22 oz cup with cover and straw during the outdoor season, plastic bottles and paper products are recycled, and what can’t be recycled in Saugerties Fondiller brings back to his home in Brooklyn for recycling.
Fondiller’s concern about the environment even extends to the facility’s kitchen, which serves guests free range beef and poultry and vegetables from an on-site, organic garden and local suppliers.
More information is available at www.totaltennis.com or 1-800-221-6496.
About Total Tennis and Ed Fondiller
Ed Fondiller is the director of Total Tennis, a year round tennis camp that he opened in the fall of 1997 in a 1920s-era Catskills resort that he purchased and renovated the previous year. The 73-acre facility in Saugerties, NY, offers tennis instruction on 20 outdoor courts (11 red clay, seven hard all weather, and two synthetic grass), and five indoor courts; 49 guest rooms in six buildings; a Main Lodge featuring a living room, dining room, library, and recreational activities; the Barn, a multi-use facility housing a 2,000 square foot conference room that can be converted into a dance floor or game room; and an outdoor pool.
Prior to moving the business to the Catskills, Fondiller operated Total Tennis from 1978 to 1997 as a summer program located at the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, MA.
Fondiller was raised in Astoria, Queens, graduated from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, and earned a BA in Political Science and Communications from Queens College. He began his career in local television news at WCBS and WPIX, before leaving journalism to teach tennis. He divides his time between his homes in Saugerties and Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Fact Sheet: Solar Panel Project
Facility: Total Tennis, Saugerties, NY
Number of solar panels: 468
Solar panel manufacturer: 210 watt Sanyo photo-voltaic panels
Square footage of buildings: Indoor tennis building, 31,200 square feet, 1 system, 1 meter
Square footage of other 10 buildings: approximately 30,000 square feet, second system, second meter
Scheduled completion date: April 2010
Total cost of project: $786,240
New York State rebates through NYSERDA: $344,840, two rebates totaling $172,420 each for the facility’s two meters
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Department of Treasury’s 1603 Program financing: 30 percent rebate in lieu of a tax credit
Private financing: 25 percent of total investment at 7 year term
Total Tennis’ annual electric bill: $64,117
Estimated energy savings with solar panel field: 30 percent or $18,000 a year