Associated Bank is strengthening its commitment to improving sustainability and reducing environmental impact through new Community Solar Garden Programs in Illinois and Minnesota. These new programs, along with the company’s ongoing LED Lighting Program, supports local and sustainable energy efforts in Associated Bank’s business communities.
Associated Bank will be a subscriber in two solar gardens in Minnesota and three in Illinois. Thirty-nine sites across the two states will participate and receive a subscribed electric load (kWh) of 5.8 million. The company will be the anchor subscriber at two locations, the Sherburne Garden (Big Lake, Minn.) and Solar Brick (Standard City, Ill.). The other three solar garden sites are Marion Garden (Faribault, Minn.), Sycamore (Sycamore, Ill.) and Goodrich (Bonfield, Ill.)
Seventeen percent of Associated Bank’s electricity will be offset by electricity produced from offsite community solar gardens in Minnesota and Illinois, in partnership with local utilities and solar garden developers Nokomis Energy and US Solar. Electricity will still be delivered by the utility but will be backed by renewable solar instead of fossil fuels. This addition of solar-generated electricity is equivalent to the carbon sequestered annually by 233.3 million square feet of U.S. forest and the elimination of GHG/CO2 emissions from burning more than 4 million pounds of coal.
Minnesota’s Marion Garden will break ground in June 2020 and be operational in November 2020. The state’s Sherburne Garden project will begin in June 2021 and come online in November 2021. Construction on Illinois’ three solar gardens will begin in Fall 2020 and come online in March 2021.
“Caring for the community and the environment are core values for us at Associated Bank,” said David Knight, Senior Vice President, Director of Facilities Real Estate at Associated Bank. “We are thrilled to evolve our focus on sustainability with our LED Lighting and new Community Solar Garden programs. These efforts reinforce our commitment to the people, businesses and communities we serve throughout the Midwest and make it an even better place to live.”
LED Lighting Program
After multiple years of upgrades, Associated Bank has one of the leading retail portfolios for LED improvements. The LED lighting retrofit program began in 2016. To date, 166 sites have been upgraded, providing over 5.6M kwh of annual electricity savings. The program reduces energy consumption and environmental impact while generating ongoing cost savings by retrofitting existing lights with higher-efficiency, extended-life solutions.
Associated Bank’s LED Lighting program effectively reduces the company’s overall environmental footprint, lowers operations cost, delivers a longer life cycle and improves light quality across participating sites. The benefits of the LED program include a 15% reduction in electricity consumption compared to total annual use and more than $500,000 in annual energy savings.
Associated Bank closely considers its environmental impact across its operations. The company leverages support from commercial real estate services provider CBRE (https://www.cbre.com/) to build and expand its energy and sustainability program efforts. Associated Bank uses “green” materials wherever possible in both new buildings and renovations. Its shredding program helps protect the environment and customer security by recycling approximately 1,000 tons of material each year. Associated Bank continues to improve energy efficiency in its newly constructed and renovated branches. These locations have high-efficiency HVAC systems and exceed code-required energy performance standards. Occupancy sensors and power management processes on computers, monitors and printers are used to manage energy use at sites across the Midwest. The cumulative effect of these programs generate immediate results and long-term financial benefits for the business and environment.
See the story ‘Why Associated plugged in to community solar energy’ by Laura Alix with American Banker.