December 9, 2020
MADISON, Wisc. - On Thursday Dane County recognized twenty-five businesses and local agencies making important and lasting strides to reduce the impact of climate change in the community. The list of Climate Champions included several SunPeak customers.
The Dane County Climate Champions Award was developed this year as an extension of the County's new Climate Action Plan, a framework for businesses, government agencies and community stakeholders to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the county over the next ten years. The awards shone a light on proactive organizations that have already made innovative changes to make their business practices more environmentally responsible.
“Climate change is a big global challenge, but these awardees illustrate how entities are acting locally, right here in Dane County, to do their part. I’m excited to recognize this year’s Climate Champions—they are the first in what I hope will be a long line of local champions for our community,” said County Executive Joe Parisi.
Recipient organizations were recognized for reducing carbon dependency in categories such as building energy use, total emissions, fleet, employee commuting, water management and agricultural practices. Among the honorees were SunPeak customers Central Storage & Warehouse, American Family Insurance, and Dane County Library Services. Each organization has used solar as a central focus of its sustainability program.
Central Storage, a refrigerated and frozen warehousing business, uses solar to power three of its largest facilities statewide. With more than 8,000 solar panels in all, Central Storage is currently the largest privately-owned host of commercial rooftop solar power generation in the state of Wisconsin.
Similarly, American Family, a multi-line national insurance company, has used solar power to offset the electrical demand of its national headquarters in Madison since 2017. At that time, American Family's solar installation was the largest commercial rooftop project in the state. Other initiatives, such as landscape and water management have also contributed positively to American Family's corporate responsibility goals.
Dane County Library Service, which provides oversight to nearly all public library operations in the area, has used solar for more than three years to effectively reduce its reliance on fossil energy sources.
"All of these organizations are great advocates for sustainability. Their interest and investment in solar and other eco-friendly initiatives provides a great example for other businesses and it shows that operational changes can benefit both the environment and the bottom line," said Chad Sorenson, President of SunPeak. "It's really rewarding for us to see our customers recognized and we are also really proud that right here in our hometown decarbonization is a priority. That's something everyone in our community can celebrate and support."
In 2017, Dane County became the first county in the nation to establish an Office of Energy and Climate Change. The county aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45% by 2030 and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.