Johnson Controls Turns On Sun Power; Stimulus Dollars Could Brighten its Future

johnsoncontrols.jpgJohnson Controls is a major (but little talked-about) manufacturer of, among other things, heating and cooling systems for buildings. Now, however, the company is starting to really showcase its sustainability chops and is leading by example: it recently flipped the switch on a 1,500-panel solar energy system at its headquarters in Glendale, Wisconsin. This is part of a $73 million renovation and rehabilitation the company is performing on the facility, which will also include thin-film solar collectors in roof tiles, wind energy and geothermal power generation.
Johnson Controls is a major provider of building energy efficiency systems, even though its efforts in that field do not often land it in headlines. And it is very well positioned to reap major benefits from the stimulus package – and on multiple fronts. Johnson Controls is comprised of three main areas of business: automotive interiors, energy efficient and security systems for buildings, and batteries for electric vehicles.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week interviewed David Leiker, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. who told the paper that Johnson Controls “could go after more than $70 billion in [stimulus] spending, including $7 billion to $8 billion in automotive, $64 billion in energy efficiency and research and $400 million in security”

And while the company posted a loss in the first quarter, much of that is due to a marked decrease in automotive sales and new construction. It seems as though its energy efficiency consulting business – through which it holds the hand of a large corporation and handles the “design, engineering, installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance” of its investment in renewable energy technology” – is quite well positioned for when stimulus dollars are spent. And, with 70 percent of those dollars due to be awarded by year’s end, that’s why rolling out its energy improvements at the headquarters right now holds so much weight.
Plus, its battery business recently saw a big boost through an agreement for Johnson Controls-Saft (a joint venture with the French battery producer Saft) to supply the complete battery system for Ford Motor Company’s first series production plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), to be introduced in 2012.
It appears that this unsung sustainability company just might start singing. What’s your take on the firm?

Freelance writer Mary Catherine O'Connor finds that a growing number of companies are proving the ways that they can make good financially, socially and environmentally (as the triple bottom line theory suggests).With that in mind, she contributes to Triple Pundit, as well as to Earth2Tech and other pubs focused on sustainability. She also writes The Good Route, an Outside Magazine blog that addresses the intersection of sustainability and the active/outdoor life.To find out more, or to reach her, go to

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