CompuTech City is about to expand its empire, but it wants to reduce its footprint.
The Lake Mary-based company will be breaking ground on a new Longwood office building in October, as Growthspotter reported on July 28 – and in its plans for both function and form, says founding partner Darshan Patel, are solar panels.
"Our current headquarters has a solar panel on the roof, so alternative energy is something we firmly believe in," Patel told Growthspotter. He and partner Saurin Patel (no relation) walk their talk; both employ solar energy in their homes.
"Now that we are going to have our own purpose-built headquarters, it makes sense to bring that ideology that into the design element of the building and use as many panels as we can."
Patel believes that 200 or so should do the trick. "We want to … cover the roof, do a canopy, perhaps the top of a covered parking space. We haven't put a cap on spending, but we're thinking that $250,000 or so will saturate all that available space."
And they are still on the hunt for a contractor.
"We are trying to source more information from field experts in how to plan it, how to incorporate it into our design," noting that the resulting look would reflect the company's no-waste policies. "Plus they're pretty."
And although they may be self-funding the project based on current interest rates, a recent meeting with First Green Bank – who is handling financing for the HQ build – has connected them with the PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing program. They are in the paperwork phase of the process.
They're also working on the math to determine their current usage footprint, but Patel says their end-of-day intent is an electric bill that totals zero.
"We want to derive 100 percent of our energy from the solar panels," he explains. The "grid" so to speak, will run bi-directionally. "There will be an electrical meter provided to us, but it goes both ways. At our peak usage, there could be times when we actually do consume power from the electric company, but there will also be times when our net use will be less and therefore, essentially, we'll be feeding the grid. The meter will spin in reverse."
For Patel, who was born and raised in India, reducing the company's footprint is an extension of the values he grew up with.
"Wasteful spending, wasteful use of anything, was prohibited," he says. "We were very mindful of that. It's the same values I teach my kids, the same fundamentals that lie within our company."
He and his partner are "looking for subject matter experts who know how to use solar products as design elements for new construction….We want to adapt and design building to use solar products organically."
Producing clean energy, he says, is an easy choice for any company looking to be more adaptive, more green-aware.
"There is an initial capital investment, but it's inexpensive now and has a good rate of return," he says. "Plus, you feel good. Because you're doing something good."