Blog   Tagged ‘clean energy’

UMB Goes Solar

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As we guide our community members in their financial decisions, we also want to be part of making those communities great places to live.

Our business partners know that any organization with available capital has choices to make about where to invest. We’re excited to announce that we recently made the decision to invest in solar-energy systems to help power five of our locations.

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We’re committed to fostering conservation in our communities. As a clean and abundant type of renewable energy, these solar installations help preserve natural resources, curb carbon emissions and present opportunities for cost savings.

We believe this to be a sound investment in our business, our buildings and our communities and recommend it to all of you.

How does going solar work?

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UMB partnered with Brightergy, an energy company whose headquarters are also in Kansas City, just blocks away from ours. Brightergy works with their clients (primarily businesses, schools, cities and not-for-profits) to help them gain control of their energy through on-site energy generation, energy efficiency and smarter energy management.

Our five new solar-energy installations are a form of on-site energy generation—located on rooftops of three locations in Kansas City and two in St. Louis, creating energy for us right where we use it.

And now to dive in to the nerdy details…A multitude of solar panels absorb daily solar radiation, exciting electrons in the panels which creates direct current (DC) electricity. That current flows to inverters which convert the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity, the kind we use to power our buildings every day.

Our solar electricity is available to us to use as soon as it is created. If we are ever creating more electricity than we are using at the moment, the excess electricity flows into the electrical grid and we earn credits on our utility bills for the electricity we provided.

For example, let’s look at the most recent holiday, Independence Day. It was warm and sunny. Even though our locations were closed, our solar-energy systems were working even as we were not. Since we created more electricity than our buildings had a demand for that day, that electricity flowed into the grid and was then distributed and used.

What are the benefits of going solar?

The sun is predictable—rising and setting every day. And in Missouri, we see the same amount of sun (an average of 4.7 hours a day) as they do in Tampa, Florida or the South of France.

Our five solar-energy systems are estimated to produce 170,000 kWh a year (solar panels have warrantees by the manufacturer for 25 years, and their expected lifetime is even longer). If you think about how much electricity you use at home, this amount is enough to provide 16 average-sized homes with electricity each year.*

After the cost of the equipment and installation, solar energy is essentially free fuel. So by creating a portion of our own electricity needs, the cost savings benefit for all five systems comes out to be approximately $22,000 in our first year of producing solar energy. Our total savings estimate increases to $610,335 for all five systems throughout the next 25 years.

We also expect to offset up to 250,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.* What does that mean? Traditional, carbon-intensive fossil fuel sources put out pollutants, or emissions, like carbon dioxide as they are burned to create usable energy.

We know that trees consume carbon dioxide (CO2) as they create food for themselves through photosynthesis, cleaning our air in the process. Approximately 250,000 pounds of CO2 is equivalent to the amount absorbed by nearly 100 acres of U.S. forest each year.

A community of solar businesses

As we get ready to ‘flip the switch’ on our systems and begin producing solar electricity, we join the growing number of businesses, including Costco, Apple, Macy’s, Johnson & Johnson, and Ikea, who recognize that solar lowers operating costs and benefits both the bottom line and our communities.

Next month, we’ll explore even more ways to go green.

 

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*Source: http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html#results

 

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Ms. Shahane is a Vice President Healthcare Marketing/Sustainability Manager for UMB. She is responsible for managing marketing initiatives for UMB’s healthcare payments, HSAs, and benefit card products. In addition she leads the UMB Green Team and promotes UMB’s internal sustainability initiatives. She joined UMB in 2001 and has 13 years of experience in the financial services industry. She earned a MA in Marketing from Webster University. She is an active environmentalist and serves on the boards of Keep Kansas City Beautiful and Northeast Neighbor to Neighbor.



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