American Family Begins Largest Rooftop Solar Installation In Wisconsin

Mar 24, 2017 1:48:00 PM

March 24, 2017

Madison, WI - American Family Insurance is installing nearly 4,500 solar panels on its National Headquarters (NHQ) building in Madison, the latest project in the company’s award-winning sustainability efforts.

This will be the largest single rooftop solar installation in the state of Wisconsin to-date. Madison commercial solar developer, SunPeak is American Family’s chosen partner for this project, which is expected to take approximately 60-90 days to complete.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems use the sun’s rays to generate electricity in a quiet, clean manner that is always renewable. The system being installed at American Family’s NHQ will use a “delta wing” (east/west orientation) solar panel configuration. This creates a chevron-like pattern that maximizes solar density on a flat roof, without the need for a southern-facing exposure.

This installation is estimated to produce approximately 1.26 million kilowatt hours annually, which is enough energy to power 122 average-sized homes, or 874,000 60-watt light bulbs for one day. The panels have a service life of 30 years and no moving parts to wear out or replace, requiring little maintenance. The system is projected to offset six to nine percent of the building’s electrical usage, saving approximately $191,000 in annual energy costs.

In addition, the solar installation is expected to offset approximately 1.7 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas annually and 51 million pounds of CO2 over the course of its 30-year service life. This is equal to the yearly emissions of roughly 213 automobiles.

The solar panel installation is just the latest in a number of sustainability projects American Family Insurance has implemented in its dedication to environmental stewardship and social responsibility. Some of the others include:

  • Organics recycling at NHQ, Eden Prairie, Minn. location and coming to the East Region building, also in Madison. This recycling effort is a significant step toward American Family’s zero waste initiative, the diversion of 90 percent or more waste away from landfills.

  • Native prairie restorations at the NHQ location as part of the company’s sustainable land management program.

  • High-efficiency lighting at all offices, including the integration of LED in select locations.

  • Water savings of more than 4.5 million gallons per year through redesign of the NHQ kitchen refrigeration systems as well as integration of soft water into cooling systems (the equivalent of four-and-one-fourth Olympic-sized swimming pools).

  • Retro-commissioning efforts at multiple buildings. Retro-commissioning is a full assessment and recalibration of the HVAC controls and settings.

  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) registration at the Eden Prairie, Minn. and East Region building in Madison.

“American Family Insurance has made a commitment to sustainability by implementing projects and initiatives that protect our environment and contribute to the well-being of our communities,” said Dan Rosetta, American Family Insurance facilities operations director. “Conserving energy and utilizing renewable energy reaffirms our commitment to the environment while also reducing our operating costs, and that means we can better meet the needs of our customers.”

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