Wind under their wings at Waxbird

Wind, solar, recycling – and sustainability – highlight SC Johnson’s Waxbird Commons.
SC Johnson Waxbird plane
The Johnson Waxbird airplane currently sits in the lobby of the new building. The company’s first airplane flew across the Midwest performing in shows and delivering SC Johnson products to contest winners.

SC Johnson announced it has opened Waxbird Commons, “our newest redesigned building named after our company’s first airplane, the Johnson Waxbird,” at its global headquarters in Racine, Wis.

As a company with a long-standing commitment to the environment, said SC Johnson, “we’ve worked to implement updates to our campus that underscore – and bring to life – our sustainability efforts through an innovative, sustainable design.”

(Go HERE to see SC Johnson’s cool, new video about Waxbird Commons.)

Combined with other sustainability projects, this investment will help reduce campus energy consumption by approximately 66%, said the firm, with a pathway to reaching net zero energy by 2025.

SC Johnson Waxbird Commons
SC Johnson’s Waxbird Commons, named after the company’s first airplane the Johnson Waxbird, offers a collaborative workspace for SCJ people.

Waxbird uses a Sustainability Office Scorecard, which will also be used as a guide for goal setting and project planning at each of the company’s other office locations.

The company said that Waxbird Commons is on track to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Features of the new building include the following:

  • Geothermal Exchange: The campus is using the constant temperature of the Earth, 55 degrees, to heat and cool the buildings. A total of 330 vertical bores are in place providing sustainable heating and cooling, a move that reduces energy usage by an estimated 35%.
  • Solar Energy: More than 500 solar panels are mounted to the roof of Waxbird Commons, creating power and offsetting energy consumption from the grid with self-generated renewable energy. Approximately 20% of these solar panels are high performing, bifacial panels which produce 30% more energy than traditional panels. 
  • Photovoltaic-Wind (PV) Lights: The several photovoltaic-wind lights installed on campus are self-sufficient using wind and solar power to provide lighting to walkways and a parking lot. 
  • Recycled Asphalt Pavement: A portion of the asphalt pavement on campus is mixed with low-density polyethylene plastic, creating an end market for nearly one thousand pounds of plastic film. The recycled low-density polyethylene plastic is added to the asphalt as a binder, maximizing the life of the pavement. 
SC Johnson Waxbird solar panels
More than 500 solar panels are mounted to the roof of Waxbird Commons, creating power and offsetting energy consumption from the grid with self-generated renewable energy.

Waxbird Commons, the company said, features a contemporary and collaborative design, with elements that focus on key historical moments that helped establish and guide the purpose and culture of the company today.

Family-owned SC Johnson, founded in 1886 by Samuel Curtis Johnson, Sr., is a leading manufacturer of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products. Some of their brands include: Glade, Ziploc, Pledge, Raid and Scrubbing Bubbles. Today, Chairman and CEO, Fisk Johnson, is the fifth generation of the family to lead the company.