American Family Insurance

The Spark

Building sustainable and resilient communities

American Family Insurance’s new social impact hub, Spark, sets a prime example for corporate responsibility – integrating sustainability, innovation, and an intelligent building system centric to the user experience. The building’s inception led to the launch of The American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, an initiative to address the community’s greatest profound social and environmental challenges using coaching, data analytics, and educational boot camps.

Geothermal Heating & Cooling

85-ton ground-coupled heat pump, with 31 bores (expandable to 42), 500 ft deep. 1.25”, SDR-11, HDPE4710 resin pipe.


Madison, WI


  • Eppstein Uhen Architects, Inc. - Architect

LEED Status


Building Size

158,000 square feet


  • Technology Awards First Place, 2021
  • Region VI - Tech Awards Winner
  • Most Innovative Green Solutions, 2019 Commercial Design Awards

Spark offers community spaces open to the public for entrepreneurial collaboration.

The 158,000 square foot, eight-story facility has collaborative community spaces for the public and permanently houses American Family’s DreamBank and StartingBlock Madison. Both groups provide professional assistance and training for entrepreneurs. The state-of-the-art building features occupancy and CO2 sensors for ventilation, temperature and humidity control, automated solar shading and lighting control, and smartphone interfaces to decrease energy use and cultivate an enjoyable work environment.

Spark meets all LEED prerequisites including: water metering, advanced energy metering, cooling tower water use, a high level of points under optimized energy performance, enhanced indoor air quality strategies, and quality views. Innovative energy and water design features include; rain and condensate water being reused for cooling tower make-up, air infiltration management, an optimized building envelope with triple pane glazing, dedicated and variable outdoor air delivery with heat recovery and humidity control, LED lighting, high efficiency condensing boilers, and premium water-cooled chillers tied to a geothermal heating & cooling system to increase efficiency.

Project Leaders