New Solar Panels Reflect a St. Paul Family Business' Commitment to Turn Green

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St. Paul-based appliance retailer Warners' Stellian added solar power to a growing list of energy and waste reducing strategies that the family-owned company hopes will inspire its customers as well as its peers.

Warner Stellian warehouse solar panels

Warner Stellian Appliance now uses more than 400 solar panels to help power its warehouse and main office.

These projects are an effort to reflect the family-owned business’s commitment to reducing waste and energy use, and is also an effort to set an example of how businesses of any size and type can put green ideas into action.

Minnesota appliance company Warners’ Stellian has completed the latest in a list of environmentally friendly projects aimed at turning the 50-year-old purveyor of energy-using home appliances into an “energy star” in its own right. Two hundred ten solar panels (190 watts each) and 210 reflective panels are expected to provide 20 percent of the company’s power needs each year going forward at Warners’ Stellian’s 150,000-square-foot warehouse/headquarters, 550 Atwater Circle, in St. Paul.

Warners’ Stellian invested $300,000 in this effort to decrease its energy usage and carbon footprint, and expects the solar panels to have paid for themselves with energy savings after five years of use. Warners’ Stellian’s solar panel system has an expected lifespan of 40 years.

Going solar is the latest project on the company’s environmentally friendly projects that Warners’ Stellian has launched in recent years. These projects are an effort to reflect the family-owned business’s commitment to reducing waste and energy use, and is also an effort to set an example of how businesses of any size and type can put green ideas into action.

Warners’ Stellian has responsibly recycled appliances for years, and the warehouse facility built in 2005 includes photo-sensing lighting, an energy-management system and an “economizer” cooling system. But in 2009, Warners’ Stellian took the initiative to address a less-obvious, yet huge environmental concern within appliance retail operations.

Appliances come with tons of packaging – literally. Plenty of cardboard still cradles refrigerators and washers for safe shipping. But more frequently manufacturers wrap appliances in Styrofoam. This nonbiodegradable material gained such ubiquity, it accounts for about a quarter of landfill waste, according to the Sierra Club. And worse yet, it doesn’t decompose. Robert Warner, Warners' Stellian vice president and director of operations, estimates the Styrofoam accounted for 85% of our waste.

Moreover, additional packaging such as plastic wrap, wooden pallets, steel banding and even the steel screws add up to a whole lot of potentially reusable material that -- for the majority of companies -- ends up in our waste stream. Plus, waste of that volume requires constant shipments, which means plenty of fuel consumption and labor.

Appliance and cardboard recycling have been a part of our mission for many, many years -- but we wanted to do more, Robert said. "We're moving beyond recycling pop cans. Whatever we generate that we can recycle, we're doing."

With the support of customers and staff, Warners’ Stellian made a significant investment in a machine machine that compacts Styrofoam into 1/20th of its original size while processing it into a reusable format. Consequently, the compacted packaging takes up far less air space, so it uses a fraction of the fuel to transport from our facility. This compactor is one of only two in the state. (Additionally, delivery vehicles automatically power down after only 5 minutes of idling to further reduce fuel consumption.)

A video of Warners’ Stellian’s Styrofoam compacting process can be viewed at:

Following this year’s solar panel installation and current effort to re-work company water-coolers to reduce the use of bottled water, the company’s next step will be to introduce a fleet of alternative-fuel delivery vehicles in 2014.

Warners’ Stellian Appliance locations include:
·        Apple Valley                     Cedar & 42        
·        Coon Rapids                     Highway 10 & Round Lake Blvd
·        Edina                                 Across from the Galleria
·         Maple Grove                     494 & Bass Lake Road
·         Minneapolis Outlet            Diamond Lake Road & Nicollet Avenue
·         Rochester                         1318 Apache Drive SW
·         St. Paul                             Snelling & Larpenteur
·         Woodbury                         494 & Valley Creek Road

WARNERS’ STELLIAN: Warners’ Stellian is Minnesota’s retail appliance and grill specialist. Family owned and operated for more than 50 years, Warners’ Stellian provides an unmatched shopping experience with incomparable services. For more information, please visit

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Julie Warner

Julie Warner
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