American Family Insurance began installation at its Madison, Wisconsin headquarters on March 24 of what the 90-year-old company claims will be the state’s largest rooftop solar array. Turnkey commercial developer SunPeak, also of Madison, will deploy 4,500 solar panels for the project, which is expected to take about two to three months to complete.
When completed, the rooftop will produce about 1.26 million kWh annually – or enough energy to power 122 average-sized homes. The system is projected to offset from 6 percent to 9 percent of the building’s electrical usage, saving roughly $191,000 in annual energy costs.
The system being deployed by AmFam will use a “delta wing” (east/west orientation) solar panel configuration. SunPeak is creating a chevron-like (upside-down V-type) pattern of modules, which will maximize solar density on the flat roof without using southern-facing exposure. The panels have a service life of 30 years and no moving parts to wear out or replace, requiring little maintenance
The solar panel installation is just the latest in a number of sustainability projects American Family Insurance said it has implemented “in its dedication to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.” Among the other projects already in place are:
- Organics recycling at the national headquarters in Madison, as well as at the company’s Eden Prairie, Minnesota, 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 company said – noting that the initiative diverts 90 percent or more of the company’s waste away from landfills.
- Native prairie restorations at the headquarters 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 annually through redesign of the headquarters’ kitchen refrigeration.
- Retro-commissioning efforts at multiple buildings. Retro-commissioning is a full assessment and recalibration of the HVAC controls and settings.
- LEED registration at the Eden Prairie and East Region buildings.