Just as we are committed to protecting the environment as part of our utility operations—in the generation and delivery of energy—the same is true for other parts of our business where we can make a difference. This includes working to improve the overall efficiency of our extensive vehicle fleet and of the many office buildings and service centers that we occupy throughout our service territory, as well as with the materials we purchase, and ultimately, must dispose of once they are no longer useful. In all cases, we look for opportunities to manage our resources in ways that benefit the environment, while also reducing costs and providing other benefits.
Xcel Energy owns or leases more than 150 office building and service centers throughout the eight states that we serve, and we strive to align our building management activities with our core value of protecting the environment. We also have the opportunity to set an example and “walk the talk” when it comes to conservation. Similar to how we encourage customers to use energy more efficiently in their homes and businesses, we look for ways to save energy and water in our own facilities, especially when those opportunities reduce our costs while conserving resources. Looking beyond efficiency, we have incorporated a number of environmentally safe practices into our daily building management, including steps that ensure indoor air and water quality, green cleaning and the use of GREENGUARD Certified products and materials.
In 2008, we proactively began managing our facilities to reduce environmental impact, and by the end of 2016, we accomplished the following through projects at our buildings and service centers:
Our energy management initiative in 2017 plans to continue working to identify and implement projects that reduce energy use and costs at our facilities while helping to reduce overall maintenance needs. Projects will consist of individual, standalone opportunities, as well as efforts to support and improve new construction, remodeling and HVAC replacement projects that are planned and approved. To do this, we review past facility energy audits and the company’s 2017 capital budget to identify energy improvement opportunities to support.
We continue to seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for our facilities. LEED is a U.S. Green Building Council certification program that recognizes sustainable building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. LEED certification has four levels—Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum—based on achievement in five areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environment quality.
Xcel Energy currently has 15 facilities that are LEED certified throughout the eight states where we operate:
|1800 Larimer||Denver, Colorado||LEED Platinum Certified|
|401 Nicollet Mall Headquarters||Minneapolis, Minnesota||LEED Silver Certified|
|Alamosa Service Center||Alamosa, Colorado||LEED Certified|
|Arvada Service Center||Arvada, Colorado||LEED Silver Certified|
|Ashland Service Center||Ashland, Wisconsin||LEED Silver Certified|
|Carlsbad Service Center||Carlsbad, New Mexico||LEED Certified|
|Faribault Service Center||Faribault, Minnesota||LEED Certified|
|Greeley Service Center||Greeley, Colorado||LEED Certified|
|Hugo Training Center||Hugo, Minnesota||LEED Silver Certified|
|Ironwood Service Center||Ironwood, Michigan||LEED Certified|
|Montrose Service Center||Montrose, Minnesota||LEED Certified|
|Maple Grove Fleet Building||Maple Grove, Minnesota||LEED Certified|
|Newport Service Center||Newport, Minnesota||LEED Certified|
|Red Wing Service Center||Red Wing, Minnesota||LEED Certified|
|St. Cloud Service Center||St. Cloud, Minnesota||LEED Certified|
We have plans to register projects at the following facilities:
|Building||Location||Pending LEED Registration|
|Amarillo Headquarters||Amarillo, Texas||Registered/Underway|
|SkyPark Headquarters||Eau Claire, Wisconsin||Five-year log of activity|
|Hudson Service Center||Hudson, Wisconsin||Registered/Underway|
|Phillips Service Center||Phillips, Wisconsin||Registered/Underway|
Learn more about LEED certification.
Our fleet of about 7,000 vehicles includes everything from small cars to light trucks, bucket trucks, excavators and trailers. In 2014, our vehicles were equipped with telematics to reduce fuel costs and improve driver safety. Using the technology has improved driver safety while also reducing idling and fuel consumption, wear and tear on vehicles, and emissions. In 2016, we estimate that the use of telematics saved approximately 175,000 gallons of fuel and more than $500,000 in fuel costs.
Several year ago, Xcel Energy signed on to the Edison Electric Institute’s Fleet Electrification Commitment by agreeing to spend at least 5 percent of the company’s annual fleet capital budget on electric vehicles and associated charging. With the availability of vehicle models on the market today, we are now essentially replacing all sedans in our fleet scheduled for retirement with electric hybrid vehicles. Additionally, we are testing various trucks as the technology for medium- and heavy-duty EPTO vehicles matures—electric power take off vehicles use batteries to run the boom function of the vehicle only. We currently have about 30 electric vehicles in our fleet—about triple the number of vehicles we had in 2015.
Xcel Energy actively works to recycle or reuse materials that the company no longer uses. Recycling simultaneously diverts waste material from landfills while conserving natural resources, as used materials become raw materials for the production of new products.
We began a major effort in 2016 to recycle “cobra head” style streetlights after launching a five-year project to replace them with new energy-efficient LED fixtures throughout our service territory. We are investing in the new technology to support the energy goals of the communities we serve, and to gain operational efficiencies that reduce costs. The new LED fixtures use about 40 to 60 percent less electricity than high pressure sodium lights and have a longer operating life, which means fewer replacements and less maintenance.
We could have potentially sold the fixtures for reuse, but we agreed not to put these older, less efficient lights back on the street. Instead, we are recycling the lights after removing and properly disposing of environmentally sensitive components. In 2016, we recycled more than 270 tons of material from lights that were removed.
In another unique recycling effort, we turn waste polyethylene plastic pipe into a versatile plastic lumber product. Since 2009, we have collected excess waste pipe from natural gas construction projects and ship it to a recycling facility, where the plastic pipe is transformed into the lumber. In 2016, about 53 tons of pipe were used for lumber.
As an electricity provider, wood poles make up a large part of our business and a significant waste stream. Each year, we beneficially reuse about 6,500 wood poles. In Colorado, about 90 percent of the wood poles that cannot be returned to stock or refurbished for reuse are donated to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado. The organization uses them for fencing, platforms and other structures on its 400-acre preserve for lions, tigers, bears and other wild creatures. The partnership with the Wild Animal Sanctuary is unique because of the volume of poles the organization can accept.
Find information on our energy-saving programs for customers.
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