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SC Johnson Headquarters Shifting to Geothermal Power


By Ryan Berlin Energy Efficiency
Geothermal energy concept.

Exploring new ways to make facilities more sustainable is an initiative that should be toward the top of every maintenance and engineering manager's to-do list.

For SC Johnson, the company announced its intention to use geothermal energy to power its Racine, Wisc., headquarters to reduce the company’s environmental footprint and position the company as “a leader in the private sector in the transition to cleaner, renewable energy sources,” the company stated.

SC Johnson plans to install a GeoExchange system at its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed campus to provide sustainable heating and cooling throughout the facilities, using the constant temperature of the Earth. The project, which is pending city and state approvals, is expected to reduce energy usage by an estimated 42 percent, according to The Journal Times.

There is a 40 percent reduction made up of decreasing consumption from the implementation of a GeoExchange system, including transforming the current boiler facility to a new energy-efficient thermal plant, and an additional 2 percent reduction by utilizing photovoltaic solar for renewable energy.

Combined with other sustainable projects, the facility will save another 15 to 20 percent in energy usage, resulting in a total facility-wide reduction of 57 to 62 percent of the current energy load.

“Leading the industry in an environmentally responsible manner starts at home,” says Fisk Johnnson, SCJ Chairman and CEO. “For us, that meant taking a look at our operations and finding where we can lessen our impact by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, addressing air quality and increasing the amount of energy offset from renewable resources.

“Transitioning to geothermal energy at our headquarters goes a long way toward accomplishing those goals.”

SCJ started using renewable energy more than 15 years ago. “Today, a third of our global energy use comes from renewable sources,” Johnson says.

At the company headquarters, a GeoExchange well field will be installed under a northwest parking lot, and an existing boiler plant will be converted to a next-generation thermal plant. SCJ hopes to complete the field installation by this fall, with the entire campus converted to the new thermal plant by the fall of 2020.

Ryan Berlin is digital content manager of Facilitiesnet.com.

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