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Earth Action Hero: Businesses in the spotlight on energy tours

Bloomington Today: The BUZZ October 10 – 16

Smart energy practices are a bright spot at IKEA in Bloomington. The store has the largest rooftop solar panel installation in Minnesota, with 4,316 panels installed in 2012—that’s enough to eliminate the emissions of 157 cars or power 100 homes each year. IKEA also uses LED lighting exclusively in their parking structures and most areas of the store. And all the light bulbs they sell to customers? Those are LED, too. 

“Sustainability is one of IKEA’s values. We believe in operating for the many and making sure sustainable options are accessible to everyone,” IKEA staff member Kwame Herzog said. 

Kwame was one of the team from IKEA leading the Best Practices Energy Tour, a recent collaboration with the Bloomington Sustainability Commission. The commission kicked off the tour series with a visit to Quality Bicycle Products last summer. The events serve as a way for local business people to see how their peers are saving energy and money all while helping the environment. 

“Businesses consume about 79 percent of the energy in Bloomington,” Sustainability Commissioner Steve Flagg said. “These tours are a total win-win. Finding new efficient practices is good for the environment, good for resources and good for the pocketbook.”

People from local businesses met for the tour of IKEA in October. These tours introduced energy projects to other business owners, facility and sustainability managers and project managers. Xcel and CenterPoint representatives attend these tours to answer questions about potential energy improvements along with representatives from the City. 

For more information or to receive an invitation to the next tour, contact Steve Flagg at