Essential Celebrates Earth Day: Reports Progress Toward ESG Commitments

 

As a utility company whose job it is to protect and provide natural resources for communities across the nation, Earth Day holds a special meaning to many of us at Essential.

Essential announced a number of sustainability commitments over the last 14 months, and we released our 2019 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report in late 2020. And since Earth Day supports efforts made toward protecting the environment, there’s no better time to provide updates on our sustainability progress:

  • We are pleased to report that we have successfully achieved a 3% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as of December 2020, which is on track for our 2035 goal to reduce Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 60% from our 2019 baseline. This 60% reduction is roughly equivalent to removing 76,000 cars from the road each year.

  • We are also on schedule to achieve 100% wind power through Green-e Renewable Energy Certificates for our Aqua operations in Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania by early 2022. Switching to renewable energy options throughout our footprint will help drive the progress toward our emissions reduction target.

Our obligation to uphold these ESG initiatives drives us to continue exploring sustainable and productive approaches to business. We’re confident that our environmental commitments coupled with our team’s passion for providing exceptional service and resources to our customers puts us on a constructive path for advancement.

Achieving these ESG goals –  to sustain and better the environment –  is nothing short of a team effort. But as we all know, to make an even greater impact in our communities, we must also support local organizations who are working passionately toward similar sustainability goals. This is why the Essential Foundation donated to two sustainability nonprofits this year: the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund, which funds grants to improve the quality and quantity of water in the Schuylkill River, and TreeVitalize, which provides grants to communities to increase tree cover in Pennsylvania. Aqua’s Pennsylvania operations have been partnered with TreeVitalize for more than 15 years and have restored about 1,000 acres with native species by planting over 170,000 trees and shrubs.

Together, we make a difference every day and I want to thank every Essential employee for their commitment to sustainability and passion for upholding Essential’s values.

Please stay tuned for a further expanded and updated ESG report this summer, which for the first time will include Peoples’ operations!

 

 

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Reflecting on the Past Year of Essential Utilities

This week marks two significant milestones—the one-year anniversary of bringing Aqua and Peoples together under Essential Utilities, and the one-year mark of operating through the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a milestone that has arrived much more quickly than any of us could’ve possibly imagined.

A year ago, just as we prepared to bring our two companies together, our way of life abruptly and dramatically changed. In fact, the day that Aqua and Peoples officially came together under Essential on March 16, 2020 was the same day that many of our employees began to work from home due to the pandemic. A day that was meant to be an exciting celebration was suddenly shadowed by the uncertainty of a virus that was gripping our country.

What happened in the months to come was nothing short of inspiring. As we all adjusted to unique, unfamiliar challenges, our employees persevered time and time again. Almost overnight, we saw herculean efforts from our customer service, IT, facilities, safety, and operations groups to implement new safety measures and work arrangements for employees. We saw departments move forward with service and technology projects across our organization without missing a beat. We saw our employees adapt to new tools and embrace virtual collaboration. We saw our incredible colleagues in the field continue to maintain and improve our infrastructure across 10 states. Day in and day out, we saw our employees putting our customers first.

It may have been a difficult year, but when we take a step back and see all that we’ve accomplished together, we’re immeasurably proud and grateful. In the face of enormous challenges, our teams have come together in support of a combined mission to safely deliver Earth’s most essential resources. We are all excited to continue our journey in the months and years ahead.

To all members of the Essential family, thank you for everything you’ve done and everything you continue to do to support our customers, communities, and each other.

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What’s the Deal with Humidity, Anyway?

 

 

Have you ever gone outside and felt the air weighing on you? Or maybe you’ve noticed that it feels much hotter than it was yesterday, even though it’s the exact same temperature. How about when you get out of a steaming hot shower and dry off with a towel, only for your skin to still feel damp? 

 

Often, these strange sensations are the results of humidity. You may not be able to see it, but it is happening right in front of us in all climates!

 

What is humidity?

 

Humidity is simply the concentration of water vapor in the air. It’s not always as obvious as rain, and it’s usually invisible. Think of it as the difference between a hot, dry desert, and a tropical rainforest. 

 

There are different types of humidity and ways to measure how humid the air is. The most common forms are relative humidity and dew point. Relative humidityis theamount of moisture in the air relative to the temperature. This is what you hear about when you watch weather forecasts. It tells us the likeliness of precipitation, dew, or fog.

 

A measurement that you may be more familiar with is dew point. This is the temperature the air must be for water to condense and evaporate at the same rate. The higher the dew point, the more humid it is outside. This way is much easier for those of us who are not weather professionals to predict how we will feel when we step outside.

 

 

How does it work?

 

 

We know that through the water cycle, water evaporates and turns into water vapor. As the temperature rises, more water evaporates. At the point of saturation, the amount of water vapor is the highest it can be in the air. Because of all this water vapor, the air feels incredibly thick, stuffy, and humid.

 

 

How does humidity affect us?

 

The higher the relative humidity and dew point outside, the hotter it feels for us humans, because our sweat evaporates slower due to the already omnipresent moisture in the air. This kind of heat can also leave us dehydrated as it messes with our cooling mechanisms, so make sure you hydrate well and keep your body cool on humid days!

 

Humidity can have several effects indoors as well. Make sure you keep an eye on the humidity levels in your house as high levels can damage electronics and cause mold due to trapped water. Hot and humid climates are also more likely to be prone to hurricanes and flooding.


While humidity does sometimes have negative effects, it is still a necessary part of the water cycle. Without it, we wouldn’t have clouds, rain, or rainbows. And who wants that? Now that you know the science of it all, enjoy the outdoors this summer—but stay healthy and hydrated!

 

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