Southern Illinois Office of Guarantee Electrical
Location: Granite City, IL
Client: Guarantee Electrical
Size: 33 Solar Panels
A pilot solar project at Guarantee Electrical's office in Granite City, Ill. provided Guarantee a client's perspective on new technology adoption. A personal interest in eco-friendly solutions by Guarantee Electrical Vice President Dennis Bertelsman initiated the pilot, fueled by electrical rates that are roughly 50 percent higher in Illinois than Missouri plus solar energy incentive funding.
Guarantee achieved a 10 percent reduction in energy costs and has taken an active role in educating clients about economical options. "We have a hatch and viewing spot in our office for those interested in exploring solar panels. Clients can come watch our power generation in action," Bertelsman said.
Thirty-three three-foot by five-foot solar panels, installed in rows adjacent to two exterior walls (for maximum structural strength), are bracketed at 10- to 30-degree angles for maximum solar gain. The system, rated at 7kW, produces more power than anticipated -- topping 9,000 kWh annually, which Guarantee uses for its own needs. Over the system's anticipated 25-year life, that power generation will reduce greenhouse emissions from coal-fired electricity production by 155 tons of CO2. Full payback is expected within nine years.
"It is a good time to be considering solar panel installations," said Bertelsman. "The price of panels is coming down and technology and efficiency are going up. We're finding solar panels can save clients money today."
Guarantee also is putting its solar knowledge to work on projects for Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, the Granite City Housing Authority and the City of O'Fallon in Missouri. The projects position Guarantee as the area's top-seeded contender in the field of environmental technology. They build upon the expertise demonstrated by Guarantee at Emerson's 35,000-square-foot data center featuring one of Missouri's largest solar panel power arrays, where a 7,800-square-foot, 550-panel installation is supplying about 20 percent of the building's power needs.
Even Faster Payback on Lighting Retrofits. While solar installations generate substantial savings, many clients are realizing dramatic one- and two-year paybacks on the lighting retrofits that follow Guarantee’s lighting audit services. According to Dena Schmid, Guarantee business development manager, lighting accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the electricity used in a typical office building. Industrial and warehouse settings with high-bay lighting can yield 50 percent or greater savings through Guarantee’s counsel.
Guarantee’s lighting audits are free. Results are received in about two weeks. Audit reports furnish facility owners with a roadmap to recommended retrofitting, costs and payback schedules. The entire process – from audit through implementation – takes about 12 weeks to complete and begin saving. The retrofits bring building owners into compliance with the new ASHRAE 189.1 standard developed jointly by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Greater use of automation, motion sensors and daylight “harvesting” are among the components.
Guarantee Electrical is proud to be an energy-conscious company. “No one loses with energy-saving alternatives,” said Bertelsman. “We are creating jobs, saving money for our customers, growing our business and helping the environment.”