MUSCATINE, Iowa — Allsteel of Muscatine celebrated another step forward in its commitment to energy conservation last week.

Allsteel members joined local business leaders and Muscatine Mayor Dick O’Brien at Allsteel headquarters, 2210 2nd Ave., for a ceremonial ribbon cutting commemorating the installation of solar panels at the corporation’s seating plant, 3000 N. U.S. Highway 61 in Muscatine.

Forty-two solar panels, measuring 40 inches by 60 inches each, were installed on the roof of the 200,000-square-foot seating plant in September.

The panels will provide 10,000-13,000 kilowatts of energy each year.

Allsteel President Jeff Lorenger said using solar power allows the facility to pull less energy from the electrical power grid, which means 37,000 pounds of carbon dioxide won’t be released into the atmosphere each year.

“This project is in perfect sync with Allsteel’s long-term commitment to reducing its carbon footprint,” Lorenger said.

Lorenger said the panels will help Allsteel reach its goal of reducing energy consumption by 5 percent each year.

“Good things are happening in Muscatine,” O’Brien said during the ceremony. “And we came here to witness another one of those things.”

The addition of solar was proposed by Allsteel’s internal “Energy Team,” which includes Eric Smith, Allsteel’s manager of skilled trades.

Smith had been pursuing renewable energy alternatives for his own home and submitted the proposal for the solar panels at Allsteel to Vice President of Operations Tom Eberhard. The proposal included Smith’s recommendation that he and his maintenance crew associates could complete the installation.

Eberhard agreed, and Smith spearheaded the project.

During the ceremony, Bill Phelan, president and CEO of the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, thanked Allsteel on behalf of the chamber’s more than 350 members.

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