In 2007, L.L. Bean, joined the EPA’s Climate Leaders Program and formalized a corporate goal to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) 20 percent by 2012. In addition to ongoing cost-effective efforts to decrease its carbon footprint, L.L.Bean was able to accelerate plans to create on-site renewable energy with the help of funding by Efficiency Maine’s Commercial Grant Program. L.L.Bean¹s new 180-tube solar hot water collector array provides 100 percent of the hot water to L.L.Bean’s Flagship store in Freeport, Maine.
The Efficiency Maine Commercial Grants funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) pay up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. The stimulus funding reduced payback projections for L.L.Bean’s new hot water solar system to less than 5 years, with immediate cost savings. L.L.Bean worked with Revision Energy of Portland on design and installation of the solar hot water system.
“The ability to create affordable, on-site renewable energy is a priority for L.L.Bean,” says L.L.Bean spokeswoman Laurie Brooks. “We’ve been using solar hot water panels at our corporate offices since the early 1980s, and they’re still working great. Solar panels are efficient, clean and require minimal maintenance.”
“Energy efficiency has always been a goal for L.L. Bean,” adds Rick Meinking, business programs specialist at Efficiency Maine, “so expanding
their use of solar to heat the water for their retail location just made sense. And the grant funding provided through ARRA helped make it happen.”
Visitors to L.L.Bean’s first Green Expo in June were able to see the newly installed panels that produce hot water, courtesy of the sun, for the store¹s two cafes and public and employee restrooms. In the first week after installation, the solar system was generating 100 percent of the hot water for the store.
“We want visitors to see these solar panels and make the positive connection that L.L.Bean is investing in and promoting renewable energy,” says Brooks. “The more businesses that make these types of changes, the better. It’s our hope that eventually green technology will become mainstream, and prices for solar technology will become more affordable.”
In addition to the stimulus energy grant, Efficiency Maine also pointed L.L.Bean toward other available resources to help fund their project
including federal tax credits and Maine Energy Rebates, which brought the company’s investment costs down even further.