Leading by example
Melink’s campus in Cincinnati is an innovation center where learning and creativity is inspired. Clean energy solutions were tested in their green building construction to achieve the goal of Net Zero usage. Upon entering their quiet and peaceful headquarters, tucked away in Milford, is a 60-foot wind turbine, solar ground arrays and parking canopies, along with 63 electric vehicle charging stations to power their cars.
HQ1 is the original building on Melink’s campus and served as the testing grounds for their green building construction. Since the largest energy loads in most commercial buildings are lighting, HVAC, and hot water, HQ1’s construction focused on how to minimize these energy drains. The building is classified as Net-Zero Energy, ENERGY STAR 99 Rated (only achieved by 1% of the population), and LEED Platinum-certified. Its progressive integration of conservation, efficiency, and renewable technologies make it one of the greenest buildings in the world.
HQ2, completed in late 2019, is the second building constructed on Melink’s campus. It features the latest technology in terms of window and door systems, a hybrid geothermal system, and highly insulated walls, as well as a bifacial solar PV parking lot canopy. It serves as a model for Zero-Energy Building (ZEB) for architects, engineers, and contractors to learn best practices and to prove ZEB construction can be mainstreamed. “Our goal is to show the world that new (and existing) buildings can be made Zero-Energy at a small cost premium of less than 10%,” Steve explains.
Melink walks the talk – and drives it too. Over 60% of employees drive an alternative-fuel vehicle, with a clear emphasis to fully transition to all electric vehicles (EVs) in the next few years. Melink provides a $7,500 incentive to its employees to purchase an EV – and now there are numerous Teslas at their office buildings and plants, parked underneath the solar parking canopies, powered and charged by clean energy.
Leading the Revolution
Melink’s CEO announced the company’s 2025 Pledge on Earth Day 2020 to inspire individual accountability for walking the talk on their vision and mission. By 2025, every Melink employee shall select the clean power option from his/her utility, and every employee shall drive an electric car using clean energy. To further leverage this pledge, they ask that other local, regional, and national partners and stakeholders join in hopes for a brighter future.
For Founder Steve Melink, solar and clean energy is an opportunity for businesses, municipalities, and schools alike to step in and make their contribution towards repairing the damage done to our planet. “Billions of tons of CO2 are released into the atmosphere every year as a result of burning coal and relying heavily on oil and gas. Human activity is producing greenhouse gas emissions at a record high, with no signs of slowing down. If we don’t act today, everything we have ever cared about will no longer exist,” Steve adds, urgently.
While science tells us that climate change is irrefutable, it also tells us that it is not too late to stem the tide. This will require fundamental transformations in all aspects of society — how we grow food, use land, transport goods, and power our facilities and economy.
While society has contributed to climate change, new and efficient technologies can help us reduce net emissions and create a sustainable way of living. Readily available solutions already exist for more than 70% of today’s emissions. In many places, renewable energy is now the cheapest energy source and electric cars are poised to become mainstream as the demand for EVs rise.
For Steve and his company, the time to act is now. “At Melink, our team will continue to inspire, educate, and innovate until our desired result is achieved,” emphasizes Steve. And that desired result is a world where new technological solutions enable humanity to transition to a more resilient source of energy. “The team’s vision is to change one building at a time, which will create a more sustainable world for ourselves, our children, and future generations,” adds Steve.
Melink continues to welcome scheduled tours, and invites universities and business groups alike to visit their campus to see the future of green buildings.