Fireman's Fund Axes Carbon Footprint 15% with Bloom Boxes

Fireman's Fund Axes Carbon Footprint 15% with Bloom Boxes

Fireman's Fund Insurance Company will soon join eBay, Coca-Cola, Walmart and Google as early adopters of Bloom Energy technology with the installation of six of the company's high-tech fuel cells, the insurance firm announced today.

Fireman's Fund, the first carrier to widely introduce green insurance to the U.S. commercial market, plans to install the Bloom Energy Servers -- fuel-cell energy generators better known as Bloom boxes -- at its headquarters in Novato in early 2011.

The Bloom boxes, which turn fuel into electricity through a clean electro-chemical process, will cost the insurance company about $8.2 million, an expense that is expected to be offset by tax credits and a sharp drop in energy bills. Fireman's Fund said it anticipates a return on investment plus $1.5 million in the next 10 years.

The technology will enable the insurance company to produce 60 percent of the energy it uses at its Novato site, thereby reducing the firm's carbon footprint by 15 percent, Fireman's Fund said in its announcement.

"This further demonstrates Fireman's Fund's commitment to the environment and our efforts to become a sustainable company," President and CEO Michael LaRocco said in the statement. "What we are doing is not only good for the environment and future generations, but it also makes economic sense for our company."

The company has a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2012. Its efforts to cut energy use, conserve other resources and generate less waste include attaining an Energy Star rating of 92 at its headquarters campus, which also is LEED certified; earning LEED certification for buildings in Dallas and St. Louis; reducing energy use by 49 percent in 2009, compared to a decade before; and recycling 82 percent of waste in 2009.

Fireman's Fund introduced green insurance for commercial buildings in 2006 and has steadily expanded its offerings for business properties while extending coverage to green homes, vehicles and vessels as well as green energy equipment.

With its installation of the Bloom boxes, the company will become one of Bloom Energy's first 20 customers for the technology. Others include Bank of America, Staples, FedEx and Cox Enterprises.

Rendering of Bloom box and inset image courtesy of Fireman's Fund.