The people of Sonoma County, California know a thing or two about protecting the environment. With scenic landscapes as far as the eye can see, this area has long been considered an icon of natural beauty. Thankfully, local leaders understand their environmental responsibility and, in 2008, the county set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2015.

Businesses and residents alike are joining forces to help make this goal a reality. Mesa Beverage Co. Inc., a MillerCoors beer distributor in the region, is just one example of a company who stepped up to the challenge and exceeded the requirements set by the county. Mesa offers proof that sustainable business practices can be both environmentally and financially rewarding.

Green growth

When Miller Brewing Company and Coors Brewing Company entered into a joint venture in 2008, Mesa Beverage Co. Inc., quickly realized they had outgrown their existing warehouse. They needed to build a facility that would be approximately 65% larger to accommodate this growth. The county, in keeping with its rigorous environmental objectives, set a demanding goal for the business: zero carbon emissions.
The new Mesa Beverage facility incorporates a wide variety of environmentally friendly features including 65 skylights in the warehouse and motion sensor lights in all offices and on main lighting switch panels. Additionally, the building has a cool roof, which helps reflect heat from the sun and reduces cooling costs.

With these elements in place, the business got within about 40,000 lbs. of its CO2 emissions goal, a significant achievement. But once the Mesa Beverage facility began utilizing solar power, the original goal was easily surpassed. The solar system now produces about 75% of the facility’s power needs, making this new building about 10 times more efficient than the previous one.

Michael Kearney, VP of Sales for Sunlight Electric, estimates that in the first year alone, Mesa will save approximately $170,000 in electric costs. After adding in subsidies, additional credits and continued annual savings, the company will pay for the cost of the system in about three or four years.  Additionally, this system will offset about 735,000 lbs. of CO2 each year.  
While Mesa Beverage Co. Inc. was able to take significant action in building an environmentally sustainable facility, the company maintains that even small changes make a big impact. The addition of solar power gave this building an enormous boost in efficiency, but every business has the ability to make minor changes that will help offset its carbon footprint.
Mesa was able to go above and beyond the environmental requirements established by the county and, ultimately, the changes also proved to be financially beneficial for the company. Thanks to the support of community and business partners, companies like Mesa Beverage Co. Inc. prove that upholding rigorous environmental standards is an intelligent business decision.