SC Johnson receives Gold Medal in Corporate Sustainability Leadership

SC Johnson receives Gold Medal in Corporate Sustainability Leadership

by Tyler Huebner, Executive Director

On May 14th, Racine, WI-based SC Johnson was honored by the World
Environment Center as the recipient of the 2015 Gold Medal for International
Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development.

This is a major award amongst large multi-national
companies, and only one company is recognized each year.  SC Johnson became the second company to win
the award twice, after first receiving the award in 1994. Recipients from
recent years include Volkswagon Group, Unilever, IBM, and Wal-Mart Stores.
SC Johnson’s global renewable energy initiatives poster

With financial support from SC Johnson, I attended the event
in Washington, DC to help honor the company. 
RENEW’s relationship with SC Johnson started about four years ago, when our
Program and Policy Director Michael Vickerman advised the company as it was
pursuing the installation of two wind turbines to help power Waxdale, one of
its major factories in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin, near Racine.  

CEO Fisk Johnson proudly supporting clean energy

Fisk Johnson, the 5th generation CEO of the family-owned
company, was on hand to receive the award. 
“Reaching for that ideal of trust and goodwill is what motivates us at
SC Johnson, and it’s where we find our best answers and greatest
successes.  This recognition today, which
I accept with great pride on behalf of all of the people in our company,
inspires us on even more.”

U.S. Representative Paul Ryan presented the award to Fisk
Johnson, and he highlighted their investment in renewable energy resources
including landfill gas and wind turbines. Ryan said, “If you drive by Waxdale,
you see a capped landfill with the methane running into the generators, along
with the two windmills, making sure that they are purely 100% sustainable for
their factory producing these wonderful products.  That just shows you how committed this family
is, and this company is, to this mission. 
It’s really impressive.”
To view (most of) Paul Ryan’s remarks, check out this video: 

According to SC
Johnson, Waxdale produces an average of 100 percent of its electrical energy
onsite each year.  Glade®,
Windex®, Pledge®, Scrubbing Bubbles®, Shout®, Raid®
and OFF!®
are all among the trusted household products made at Waxdale.

Milwaukee Wind Turbine Marks Two-Year Anniversary!

From Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability:

Today marks the second anniversary of energy generation at the Port of Milwaukee’s wind turbine. Not only is the wind turbine an important symbol of Milwaukee’s clean energy future, it is paying annual dividends on the tax payers’ investment. In fact, the turbine has far exceeded our initial estimates in clean energy production and savings to the City! Since many of the components and all of the installation services were sourced from Wisconsin firms, the wind turbine also demonstrates that every dollar we invest in renewable energy in Wisconsin, is a dollar invested in a job for a Wisconsinite. 

The electricity generated by the wind turbine exceeds the electricity used at the Port Administration building while providing surplus clean power back to the grid. To date, the turbine has generated over 300,000 kwh of electricity. And, we have avoided releasing over 380,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into our air. As a result, Milwaukee’s Port Administration building is the first City of Milwaukee municipal facility that is a “net zero” electric energy user! 

The surplus electricity created over $13,000 in revenue for the City in 2013 in addition to $6,000 in electricity savings. The wind turbine had a total annual economic impact of nearly $20,000 in 2013. Since electricity rates continue to rise, the payback on the wind turbine will accelerate. 

Milwaukee’s wind turbine is part of the City’s initiative to reduce energy use and increase renewable energy projects on City facilities. OES is currently planning additional solar energy projects to complement this renewable energy source. 

Learn more about the project and see live production data here:

Milwaukee solar initiative hopes to expand group-buy model

Milwaukee solar initiative hopes to expand group-buy model

The following article by Tom Content was published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on 2/20/2014

Milwaukee’s solar initiative is looking to expand on its first group-buy solar initiative last year, which helped lead to more than 30 installations across the city.

That’s three times as many solar installations than in 2012, and the city credits the growth to a solar group-purchase program that began in the Riverwest neighborhood.

The public-private partnership helps residents take advantage of lower-cost solar installations through volume purchasing. The group buy was responsible for 16 installations in Riverwest, along with another in Bay View.

“The solar group-buy model has proved successful because it provides education on the technology, financing solutions and utilizes the strength of volume purchasing to bring the cost down even more,” said Amy Heart, manager of Milwaukee Shines, a project of the city’s Office of Environmental Sustainability.

The Solar Bay View initiative kicked off Wednesday, with more informational sessions scheduled in the weeks ahead. Enrollment will take place between now and May.

Solar Bay View’s sponsors include Riverwest Cooperative Alliance, Milwaukee Shines and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.

The program is open to Milwaukee-area residents outside Bay View, but its main focus will be within the neighborhood.

“The concept of a group-purchasing program fits right in with the principles of cooperatives everywhere. People come together to meet an otherwise unmet need,” said Peter Murphy, who works with the Riverwest Cooperative Alliance, an organization comprised of local cooperatives. “In this case, the Bay View neighborhood has a unique opportunity to show the rest of Milwaukee how people power can accomplish meaningful and practical goals, like energy independence.”

Paula Papanek of Bay View put 12 solar panels on her roof a few years back and was able to take advantage of the Riverwest group purchase last year to install 18 more panels on her garage. She’s volunteered to advise neighborhood residents on what questions to ask and provide feedback on her own experience.

“It’s important that homeowners have the opportunity to talk to somebody who’s done it as opposed to hearing from a sales rep,” she said.

Adam Gusse, vice president of H&H Solar Energy Services in Madison, said the Riverwest group purchase program followed a similar one in Madison.

Group-buy participants saved about 20% compared with a solar installation of a comparable size, Gusse said.

Some of the savings came about because so many projects were physically close together, from buying greater quantities of panels, and from reduced sales and marketing costs, he said.

“It was really great to have a coalition of many different organizations coming together to make for what is a great success for solar in Milwaukee,” Gusse said.

New solar park to be built in Jefferson

Some excellent news out of Jefferson today. A new solar project totaling 1 megawatt of power generated over a seven-acre site. Read the article in the Daily Union below:

JEFFERSON — The City of Jefferson Common Council got a glimpse of a bright future Tuesday as developers took a first glimpse at the soon-to-be-completed solar farm on the city’s north side. 

Representatives of Half Moon Ventures, a Chicago-based company that recently purchased the development, presented plans to the council for a renewable energy production facility slated to begin construction three years after talk of a solar field first got under way. 

Green States Energy, a Florida-based company, approached the city in summer 2010 with plans to build a 100-acre solar energy farm on city-owned property that would produce 20 megawatts of electricity. That project was slated to be completed by late 2011 or early 2012.
Although construction on that project never moved forward, earlier this summer, Half Moon Ventures, which maintains a Milwaukee office, purchased a 100-percent interest in the project, gaining complete control over the future development. It intends to construct a seven-acre solar park housing 3,600 solar panels to produce 1 megawatt of electricity. 

It is scheduled to open in December. 

“We have entered into a supplemental agreement with Half Moon Ventures, and that supplemental agreement … also established the lease commencement date as today, Sept. 17,” said City Administrator Tim Freitag. “Earlier this evening, Kevin (Hirsch, Half Moon Ventures chief financial officer) provided a check in the amount of about $123,000 to the City of Jefferson for a 20-year prepaid lease.” 

Hirsch said Half Moon, which bills itself as a “pioneer in renewable energy project development,” will approach the project from a financial angle rather than as a construction or engineering challenge. 

“Renewable large projects today are chiefly a financing project to produce energy at the lowest possible cost with a renewable resource,” he said. “We were very excited to see this project come in front of us, and we only wish it were 20 Megawatts, as we told Tim countless times. But we still think this can be a wonderful project for the city and I hope you guys will see that, as well.”…


Construction begins on Milwaukee Public Museum’s solar wall

The Milwaukee Public Museum announced plans to cover the building’s 8-story tower with a 234 panel solar array. The completed project is predicted to produce 77,533 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

By Trisha Bee

MILWAUKEE (WITI) – The Milwaukee Public Museum’s south façade is getting a 21stcentury update. The marble cladding on the 8-story tower of the Museum, which was built in the mid-1960s, is being replaced with 234 solar panels. Work on the project, scheduled to last approximately five months, started Monday, July 29th with preparation for the removal of the marble exterior. 

Over the past 50 years, the Museum’s heavy marble façade has weathered and become less stable, creating the need for an update on the south wall facing Wells Street. MPM explored both the use of recycled material and solar panels as replacement options, and decided on the later because of the energy-generating potential of solar. Milwaukee-based manufacturer Helios USA has been contracted to produce the Museum’s solar panels. 

MPM’s solar wall is expected to generate 77,533 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, the equivalent of having 442, 60-watt light bulbs on for eight hours every day for an entire year. MPM will be the only building in Milwaukee with a full solar wall that is generating electricity. 

During removal of the marble cladding, the MPM’s Puelicher Butterfly Vivarium and Bugs Alive! exhibit will be closed to ensure safety of Museum visitors and staff members. This phase of construction is expected to last approximately four weeks.