Ashley Furniture has committed to a multi-phase effort to reduce the companyâ€™s energy footprint. The company has selected ten of its largest U.S. facilities to receive solar installations this year as part of the first phase of the initiative. Construction on the first solar array in Romeoville, Illinois, begins this week.
Across the ten advanced manufacturing and distribution and fulfillment facilities identified, electrical energy consumption exceeds 100 million kWh (kilowatt hours) annually. Phase one of the project will be a $29 million investment for Ashley. By installing solar, the company expects to offset its electrical energy needs by 35%.
â€śWe need a lot of energy to manufacture our products, and it only makes sense to use renewable sources,â€ť says Ron Wanek, founder and chairman, Ashley. â€śThis is a long-term investment, not only for Ashley, but for our environment. We are taking proactive steps and hope to see others in our industry join us.â€ť
The company anticipates a cost savings of more than $5 million in the first year, with potential for even greater annual savings as energy prices continue to increase over time.
â€śSaving on energy costs will allow us to further invest in our employees and facilities, pass cost savings on to our customers and give back to the community,â€ť says Todd Wanek, Ashleyâ€™s president and CEO. â€śThese solar panels are just one more example of Ashleyâ€™s sustainability in the global marketplace and in our local communities.â€ť
The Romeoville location, a 454,525-square-foot retail distribution center, will utilize 2,640 roof-mounted solar panels and ten inverters for a total system capacity of 726 kWdc. The solar energy produced from this site alone will exceed 856,700 kWh per year, which is equal to the amount of power consumed by 72 average American households.
Ashley has partnered with SunPeak, a leading developer in the solar industry, to design and install its solar systems. SunPeak has worked with other large, national brands including Tyson Foods and American Family Insurance.
â€śWe are extremely proud to partner with Ashley,â€ť says Chad Sorenson, president of SunPeak. â€śThe impact of this project portfolio is significant. For each location identified, we have designed an extremely efficient, roof-mounted solar system. In total, these systems will generate more than one trillion kilowatt hours of clean energy over the next thirty years. Thatâ€™s enough energy to power 3,000 homes for the next three decades.â€ť
Ashleyâ€™s solar energy initiative will complement their advanced manufacturing facilities. Throughout the companyâ€™s advanced manufacturing and warehousing operations, solar energy will be utilized to charge IoT (internet of things) systems, automation and robotics, and battery-powered industrial vehicles.
Other Ashley solar project sites include three locations in California as well as Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Ashleyâ€™s advanced manufacturing headquarters in Arcadia, Wisconsin. All projects in this first phase are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020.
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