SC Johnson plans to power Racine HQ with geothermal energy
Company cuts greenhouse emissions by 62% since 2000

Freeman Staff

April 2, 2019

RACINE — In a move to operate with cleaner, renewable energy sources, SC Johnson announced Monday that it plans to use geothermal energy to power its Racine headquarters.

“As a global company, you think about your footprint in all the places you operate and how to minimize your impact,” said Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson, in a statement. “Leading the industry in an environmentally responsible manner starts at home. For us, that meant taking a look at our operations and finding where we can lessen our impact by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, addressing air quality and increasing the amount of energy offset from renewable resources. Transitioning to geothermal energy at our headquarters goes a long way toward accomplishing those goals.”

According to the announcement, SC Johnson plans to install a GeoExchange system at its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed campus to provide sustainable heating and cooling throughout the facilities, using the constant temperature of the Earth. The project — which is pending city and state approvals — is expected to reduce energy usage by an estimated 42 percent. There is a 40 percent reduction made up of decreasing consumption from the implementation of a GeoExchange system, including transforming the current boiler facility to a new energy efficient thermal plant, and an additional 2 percent reduction by utilizing PV for renewable energy. Combined with other sustainable projects, the facility will save another 15 to 20 percent in energy usage, resulting in a total facility-wide reduction of 57 to 62 percent of the current energy load.

SC Johnson has had a commitment for the past two decades to use more renewable energy in the production of its products. Some examples can be found at three manufacturing sites — Bay City, Michigan; Mijdrecht, Netherlands; and Gorzow, Poland — which run on 100 percent wind energy, while facilities in Mount Pleasant (Waxdale) and Toluca, Mexico, get a portion of their power from wind. Waxdale also generates 85 percent of its energy from cleaner-burning natural gas. Methane gas from a nearby public landfill generates 28 percent of the facility’s energy. The other 57 percent comes from a second cogeneration system that uses cleaner-burning natural gas.

Altogether, SC Johnson’s efforts have resulted in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in its worldwide manufacturing sites by 62 percent since the company’s 2000 baseline.

If the plan for geothermal energy moves forward, the SC Johnson’s Administration Building will have 13,000 square feet of photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of the company’s west campus. A GeoExchange well field will be located under a northwest parking lot, and an existing boiler plant will be converted to a next-generation thermal plant.