Madison-Based Insurance Company wins Energy Efficiency Excellence Award
Madison, Wis. – American Family Insurance has been a frequent and effective participant in the FOCUS ON ENERGY® program for many years, leading to large energy and cost savings at American Family facilities.
That commitment to energy efficiency is the reason Focus on Energy presented the Madison-based company with an Energy Efficiency Excellence Award on Thursday.
“These guys epitomize teamwork in their efforts,” said Michael Campos, the Energy Advisor with Focus on Energy who works with American Family Insurance and nominated the company for the award. “Everyone has equal say. Everyone’s opinion is respected. And as a result, they’ve done 25 projects [with Focus on Energy] since 2010.”
That includes eight projects completed in 2018, like the extensive remodel of American Family’s East Regional Building (ERB) and a major renovation project at the company’s National Headquarters (NHQ), both in east Madison.
“I want to commend you for your hard work. And I know it’s not just you, but an internal team of folks working really hard on energy efficiency,” said Maria Redmond, Director of the Office of Energy Innovation at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, before presenting the award to American Family Insurance Facilities Program Administrator, Sean Hyland.
“One of the things that really inspired me most when I first came here was the excellence of the team that we have here.” Hyland said after accepting the award. “The hard work and effort that they put into making the facilities a warm and inviting place, but also driving efficiencies, being strategic on how we replace systems.”
The ERB construction project qualified for $114,000 in financial incentives from Focus on Energy to help offset the initial cost of the energy efficiency equipment included in the building. That equipment is helping American Family Insurance see annual energy savings of 1,175,676 kilowatt hours of electricity and 14,352 therms of natural gas at the ERB, compared to baseline equipment. That equates to energy cost savings of nearly $116,000 a year at the building. The financial incentive, combined with the annual energy savings, means the company’s million-dollar investment in energy efficient technology at the ERB will pay for itself in less than eight years.
At the NHQ building, American Family worked with Focus on Energy to install LED bulbs and a network lighting control system in the parking ramp. That system is saving the company nearly 1 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year, leading to more energy cost savings.
In addition, American Family has invested in solar energy, installing about three acres of solar panels on the roof of its national headquarters building. Campos notes the company’s efforts don’t stop with those big projects.
“Maintenance and facilities staff are constantly scrutinizing existing equipment, controls and practices to improve the efficiency of their operations,” he said.
American Family is served by Alliant Energy and Madison Gas & Electric, two of the 107 Wisconsin utilities who partner in the Focus on Energy program and whose customers are eligible for the energy expertise and financial incentives it provides. Both utilities had representatives at Tuesday’s award presentation to congratulate the company.
“I just want to applaud your leadership in taking advantage of these funds that are available for customers like you through this great partnership, to make these investments in the future and sustainability,” said Jeff Ripp, Director of Regulatory Affairs with Alliant Energy. “We think it is a way for us to deliver solutions to customers to help reduce their energy use, which helps us manage our system going forward. So, we’re a strong supporter of the Focus on Energy program; we love working with great partners like you here at American Family and we want to continue to do so.”
The state legislators whose districts include the American Family Insurance offices also came to honor the company Tuesday.
“It’s the highlight of the work I do to see the private sector leading the public sector in these (sustainability) conversations. I can bring these conversations back into the Capitol building and use them as examples of why we as a government should be prioritizing these same type of initiatives,” said Rep. Melissa Sargent.
“It’s important for the state that we be more efficient in energy consumption, now and as we go forward in the future,” said Sen. Mark Miller. “And when our energy consumers such as American Family exercise the opportunity to be more efficient, that helps create the market for others to be more efficient.”
About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by the state's investor-owned energy utilities and participating municipal and electric cooperative utilities. Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus on Energy information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control Wisconsin's growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information call 800.762.7077 or visit focusonenergy.com.
Photo: Senator Mark Miller and Representative Melissa Sargent join representatives from Alliant Energy, Madison Gas and Electric and Focus on Energy to present an Energy Efficiency Excellence Award to Sean Hyland and other employees of American Family Insurance.