One of the cornerstones of Abt’s approach to business is a strong dedication to environmental stewardship. We recognize the importance of being good to the Earth: we’ve got only one, and damaging it affects all of us. Wherever possible, we try to make the most environmentally-friendly decisions, whether in designing new additions to our store or in services we offer. As green technologies continue to advance, these solutions are often sound business choices. So they’re not only good for the Earth, they can also help us—and our customers—save some green. With Earth Day coming up this weekend, we all have an extra reminder to be conscious of our environmental footprint and how we can be greener on a daily basis. Here are some ways that we celebrate Earth Day, everyday.
Rooftop Solar Panels
Installed in late 2016, our rooftop solar array consists of 1500 panels that can produce around 850 megawatt hours of energy annually. That’s enough electricity to keep 80 single-family homes running each year. It allows us to greatly reduce the amount of energy we need from the power grid, which is produced with methods that are harmful to the environment.
One of the major hurdles of solar power is figuring out what to do for power at night, since no sun=no energy. While that riddle hasn’t been completely solved, advances in battery technology have led to power storage that can take advantage of solar power long after the sun goes down. The most notable example is the Tesla Powerpack. Available in both residential and commercial versions, the Tesla Powerpack was created to give solar energy users a way to power their homes through the night, or (for those whose homes still need some grid power) to stay operational during a grid power outage. Fed by our solar panels, Abt’s Telsa Powerpack array can store 1 megawatt hour of energy. And while that’s not enough to power our entire store through a major outage, the Powerpacks serve as a backup to our IT department’s critical infrastructure. In conjunction with the solar panels, the Powerpacks would let key parts of Abt and Abt.com run completely off the grid, indefinitely. An added bonus is the ability for Abt to take part in local utility demand response, which essentially means that in times of peak demand, our electricity provider can tap into the power stored in the Powerpacks to ease stress on the grid, potentially preventing wide-spread brownouts or blackouts.
Electric Car Chargers
Our newest addition, opened just in time to celebrate Earth Day, is a 10-stall Tesla Supercharger station! Located on the east side of our parking lot—just between Abt and the Design Center—the Superchargers give our Tesla-driving customers a chance to recharge while they do some appliance shopping or grab a coffee at Jolane’s. The station is also a positioned conveniently for long-distance travelers who are passing through the area on I-294. Customers who drive electric cars that are not Tesla need not worry, we still have a pair of ChargePoint chargers located at the front of our store.
Rainwater Reclamation Barrel
Living so close to the Great Lakes, Midwesterners tend to take for granted our water supply. But it’s still important to be aware of how we use our water—it’s especially easy for a big business to waste lots of it in our day-to-day operations. Our rainwater reclamation barrel is a simple way for us to reduce our water usage by taking advantage of a plentiful water source: the rain. Instead of directing it into the sewers around the store, all of the water that hits our roof during a rain storm is funneled into the barrel. From there, it’s routed to our sprinkler system. When it’s time to water the lawn and landscaping, we can use the captured rainwater. Not only does the system reduce our water consumption needs, it keeps a lot of rain out of area sewers during those heavy summer storms. That means the local sewer system is less burdened, making it less likely to overflow and spill harmful sewage out into the streets and area lawns.
The Abt Recycling Center was built to address the waste we created during our daily operations, both in-store and when delivering to our customers. While it’s easy to simply throw things in the dumpster, nearly every piece of waste we produce—from styrofoam padding in the TVs we deliver to the old TVs we pick up during that same delivery—can be recycled. Inside the Recycling Center, a series of machine process all of this waste and package it to be sent to a network of recyclers. Cardboard gets baled and turned back into new boxes; styrofoam gets melted down and sold to a processor who turns it into playground equipment or other plastic goods; and old electronics and appliances are transported to companies who dismantle them and responsibly recycle the raw materials. Have some old electronics or appliances to get rid of? The Recycling Center is open to the public—find more info on the Abt Green Programs page.