If you’ve had a conversation with any of our Joule Solar Specialists, you may have walked away wondering how they know so much about solar and, more importantly, how they remain so passionate. The answers are obviously unique to each of my co-workers, but there is a common thread that binds us all together.
That thread is woven throughout the company, from top to bottom, and is even reflected in our office building itself. That common thread is a passion for sustainability.
We here at Joule are proud to say that even our offices are working hard to lessen our carbon footprint. We don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk (and bike the bike, and turn off the lights).
ON THE ROOF
Joule doesn’t just install solar panels, we also benefit from our very own system at our New Orleans headquarters. The 28.35 kW system of 126 Conergy modules on our South Alexander Street warehouse and office space has been working for us since April of 2012. Since then, we have produced about 41,000 kWh of energy per year, which is roughly $4,100 in energy savings!
We also installed a solar hot water heater in May of 2014 to help supply hot water to our kitchen, bathrooms, and other hot taps throughout the office. This closed-loop indirect antifreeze system is supported by a pressurized chemical solution that circulates between the tank in the warehouse and the solar collector on the roof. The heat is then transferred into the stored tank water via a wraparound heat exchanger.
ON THE INSIDE
Lighting, heating, and cooling generally top the list of overhead expenses for any business. Some of the best ways to drive down those costs also happen to be some of the best ways to go green within our office.
As a company, we are doing our best to be energy efficient across all end uses. We have installed Nest Learning Thermostats to better combat the sweltering southern Louisiana heat and the air conditioning costs that usually come along with it. Nest learns the occupancy patterns of the office and limits any unnecessary air conditioning (or heating). The smart thermostat technology actually shuts the air off when there is no activity. Even if the last person to leave forgets to readjust the thermostat, the air conditioning unit will automatically stop running.
Lighting accounts for 19% of the world’s energy consumption, and greenhouse gases related to lighting are equivalent to the emissions of 70% of the passenger vehicles on Earth. Both of our offices in New Orleans are lit with LED lights, which are 80% more efficient and last up to 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. By retrofitting all our lights, we are saving on electricity costs, cutting down on maintenance costs, and decreasing our carbon footprint.
We also post reminders on all of our light switches throughout the office to help us remember to turn the lights off when we leave for lunch and at the end of the day. Even small actions like turning off the lights can result in huge energy savings when the whole team chips in.
ON THE ROAD
This past April, Joule employees participated in the Bike Easy Bike to Work Week. Our Team Leader and Operations Manager, Mike Robertshaw, helped lead our 12 cyclists to a total of 243.7 miles collectively in just one week! We had the highest number of registrants, the highest number of new riders, and we were 5th in total number of trips logged.
Mike rides his bike to work every single day, rain or shine, and many others ditch their steering wheels for handlebars on a regular basis. It’s not just our solar panels and LED lights that make us energy efficient - it’s our co-workers and colleagues keeping us accountable for our daily choices as well. We are all working towards the common goal of being as energy conscious as possible.
ON THE BUSINESS
Joule has been a certified Benefit Corporation, or B-Corp, since 2010. Businesses seeking a B-Corp certification must meet standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. We were one of the first businesses in Louisiana to become a B-Corp, and continue to be the only solar energy company in the state with a B-Corp Certification.
When possible, we try to order from other B-Corps. For example, our holiday gifts last year came from Patagonia, a fellow B-Corp. When we can’t find a B-Corp vendor, then we try to order locally to support the community and reduce shipping costs. Recently, we made an apparel order from New Orleans-based clothing company Tasc Performance. They utilize a bamboo technology that is temperature regulating, UPF 50+ sun protective, and comfortable, ensuring that our installation teams are laser focused on correctly installing your solar panels.
Businesses can have a big impact on the environment and can also influence their employees and communities. Joule strives to help as many people as possible both inside and outside the office drive down energy costs and reduce their carbon footprints. Through our efforts as a business, we are striving for a better future for everyone.