Organic Valley’s Solar Windows Do Double Duty

Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers, representing 1,687 farmers in 35 states and three Canadian provinces. The co-op has been helping to save family farms since 1988 by transitioning them to organic growing practices, and helping them market their products through a common brand. Today, its organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice can be found in supermarkets and natural foods stores across North America.

Now, Organic Valley has taken steps to reduce its own carbon footprint—by installing solar windows at its headquarters in La Farge, Wis. The facility’s 20 solar windows, manufactured by Pythagoras Solar, are designed to simultaneously optimize daylighting to improve the building’s energy efficiency, while producing solar power. The windows reduce glare, enabling Organic Valley employees to turn off artificial lights and work under more natural light during the day. With less heat entering the building, Organic Valley says the the solar windows also help reduce the building’s cooling load, and “create a more comfortable and productive work environment.”

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image via Organic Valley

“With these solar windows we plan to save energy and generate power at the same time, a positive contribution to meeting our overall operational sustainability goals,” said Cecil Wright, vice president of Sustainability and Local Operations at Organic Valley. “By adopting these innovative windows, we are also helping to pave the way for this technology, which has the merit to become a standard in the design and construction of net zero energy buildings.”

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).