A Public Storage near you may soon be powered by the sun.
As part of our larger effort to be kind to the environment, we’re excited to add solar panels to our buildings, with the goal of adding solar to 1,000 of the more than 2,600 locations we have around the country. You may not be able to see them, but they are working to reduce our footprint in the communities we serve.
“We’re looking at how we can reduce our overall energy consumption and not impact the grid,” said Bernadette Reyes McDermott, vice president of architecture and design for Public Storage.
We are constantly optimizing our locations to conserve resources and be kinder to the environment. In 2020, we cut our energy consumption, carbon emission, water consumption, and waste production an average of 12%, compared to 2019. Our use of recycled packaging material saved 37,000 trees and 15 million gallons of water in 2020 alone. This news was released in our second annual Sustainability Report.
“What we found was that we have already been at the forefront of sustainability. We have been incorporating these best practices of green building, environmentally conscious designs for years,” McDermott said.
In 2020, we produced 1.95 million kilowatt-hours of energy and currently have a total of 56 locations with solar panels. We also have 405 locations under contract to add solar this year and next, with ambitious plans to continue to grow our solar locations above our 1,000 property goal.
There are two types of solar systems we install, depending on local government and utility company requirements. One solution powers the building directly and sends any additional unneeded electricity back to the power grid. The second system feeds all the energy created from our panels back into the power grid. In this scenario, we draw the power we need from the local utility.
Fortunately for all, the solar panels don’t change the experience of visiting a Public Storage.
“Sometimes our operations team doesn’t even realize they are there because they’re up on the roof and everything works according to plan,” said Matt Trenton, vice president of regional facilities for Public Storage.
Our renewable energy plan complements our cool rooftops initiative, which uses highly reflective materials or white roofs to absorb less heat.
We also replaced all exterior fluorescent lights at all of our locations with more energy-efficient LEDs in 2019. We are now retrofitting our interior lights with LED lightbulbs. Despite the pandemic, more than 600 properties were completed last year, and so far we have completed 1449 properties with the goal of converting all properties soon.
In addition, all of our upgraded LED locations and new developments have motion-sensor LED lighting, which turns on automatically when there is movement. If a customer walks through the property, a section of lights will turn on, and then after a period of time turn off after sensing no motion This also significantly reduces energy consumption by not wasting power when not needed.
“That’s huge -- that reduces our power across all our portfolio,” McDermott said.
At Public Storage, we’re committed to being sustainable partners in the communities we serve. Not only does self storage have an incredibly low environmental footprint compared to other real estate types, Public Storage is driving its carbon footprint even lower with Green Power, low use electricity for lighting, and other sustainable practices like low water use landscaping.