MUSCATINE, IOWA – Allsteel Inc. president Jeff Lorenger was joined by Muscatine Mayor Dick O’Brien and other local business leaders as he threw the switch on a solar panel array recently installed at the company’s seating factory.
The rooftop installation of 42 panels at the 200,000-square-foot facility has the capacity to generate from 10,000 to 13,000 kilowatts of energy annually—enough to power the Allsteel seating production lines where hundreds of thousands of workplace chairs are produced each year. According to Lorenger, the 200-foot-long solar installation represents one more milestone in the company’s history of sustainable practices and its first use of solar energy to power a manufacturing facility.
“Sustainability is firmly ingrained in our culture here at Allsteel,” says Lorenger. “This project is aligned with Allsteel’s long-term commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. This installation is helping us reach our goal of reducing energy consumption by 5 percent each year.”
The move to solar allows the facility to pull less energy from the electrical power grid, which translates to the prevention of 37,000 pounds of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere each year. According to Sterling Planet, the nation’s leading retail renewable energy provider, that’s the equivalent of recycling 5 tons of waste.
The addition of solar was proposed internally by Allsteel’s own members and an “Energy Team” responsible for exploring ways to decrease energy usage. Among that group, Eric Smith, Allsteel’s manager of skilled trades, had been aggressively pursuing renewable energy alternatives for his own home. He submitted the proposal for the solar array to Tom Eberhard, Allsteel’s vice president of operations. Eberhard agreed, and Smith and his team spearheaded the project, planning and completing the installation themselves. While the initial phase has been completed, the plan is for a continuing expansion of the array.
“This project is a fantastic example of our continuous improvement culture that empowers our members to find ways to operate more efficiently while reducing our impact on the environment,” notes Lorenger.
Allsteel’s sustainability mission began nearly 30 years ago, when it first implemented pollution prevention techniques. Since then, the company has transformed its manufacturing process, and every product includes recycled content. Award-winning designs, such as Acuity seating and Stride systems furniture, were designed and built from the ground-up with sustainability in mind, earning a seal of approval from top independent environmental certification groups. And, nearly all of Allsteel’s Resource Centers have earned LEED certification—recognition of sustainable design and furnishings plus a testament to the ability of each showroom to help improve its surrounding environment. Allsteel has chronicled its sustainability findings and research online at its micro site, All Together Now, www.allsteeloffice.com/alltogethernow.
About Allsteel Inc.
Allsteel Inc., which is headquartered in Muscatine, IA, designs, builds and delivers workplace furniture solutions. The company holds firm to a belief that there’s always a better way to improve efficiency and foster teamwork … another possibility to find solutions that increase the bottom line and deliver long-term value … a new opportunity to help a business be more effective. Allsteel has distinguished itself with award-winning products such as Acuity seating, Align workstations, Merge conferencing tables, and Stride, its latest workplace solution that’s designed to evolve with the needs of a business. Allsteel was the first office furniture manufacturer to have all products certified either Indoor Advantage or Indoor Advantage Gold, and the majority of the line can contribute to LEED-CI credits. The company has Resource Centers in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Washington, D.C., and Toronto, ON. For additional information, visit www.allsteeloffice.com.