By: Susan Jensch
The importance of sustainability permeates everything at Accredited Investors Wealth Management. It is a main consideration in Accredited’s own business succession planning, as we implement a strategy to ensure a sustainable future for our firm. But it is also the driving factor behind our decisions to install prairie restoration landscaping and introduce bee apiaries on our property, and to add an electric vehicle charging station for our clients and staff members.
That focus on sustainability was also the reason for installing a solar panel array on the roof of the building at Accredited in late 2015.
We are often asked questions about our solar installation, including just how much green energy we are able to produce. Considering we are a financial firm, you might think our first instinct would be to simply list the numbers – after all, measuring energy output is a relatively straightforward mathematical calculation.
However, as we have learned through serving our client families, numbers rarely hold meaning simply on their own. It’s only after adding context around the numbers that true value can be revealed. So, with that thought in mind, we’d like to share some relevant statistics about the immense environmental benefits produced by our installation, that put our solar energy efforts in perspective.
Since installation, Accredited’s solar array has saved over 545,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
That’s equivalent to planting more than 13,700 trees – or more than 10 new trees every day.
Since installation, our solar panels have generated nearly 350 megawatt hours of energy. While we are not quite ready to formally establish a utility business subsidiary, that is a lot of power.
For perspective, that amount of energy is equivalent to:
The greenhouse gas emissions from 600,000 miles driven by an average passenger car (which equals more than 24 trips around the earth at the equator), or
The carbon dioxide emissions from:
More than 28,000 gallons of gasoline consumed, or
More than 272,000 pounds of coal burned, or
More than 10,000 propane cylinders used for home BBQs, or
More than 31 million smartphones charged
Overcast days and snow affect the amount of energy capture, so the panels were installed at an angle optimized for maximum sun exposure. To keep the panels at peak performance, they are set up to independently communicate with a monitoring company via the internet.
The power harnessed by the solar panels feeds into Xcel Energy, where it’s purchased and redistributed. Xcel has a goal of achieving 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050, which will partly be achieved by solar systems like the one at Accredited. “Committing to sustainability mattered more than cost of installation,” according to CEO Ross Levin, “and we are proud to be part of a clean energy future.”
Source for energy equivalents: United States Environmental Protection Agency