Bright Wood Corporation Chips Away at Energy Costs, Wins Award

2020 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award Winner


Menomonie, Wis. – Earlier this month, Bright Wood Corporation was honored for its efforts to reduce energy costs by incorporating energy efficiency in its Menomonie facility. FOCUS ON ENERGY® awarded the wood manufacturing and millwork company with a 2020 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award in partnership with its utility provider, Xcel Energy.

“[Bright Wood’s accomplishments] showcase the partnership that we have with our customers, Focus on Energy, and the communities which we serve. Those partnerships are what makes these projects a win for everyone,” said Tim Bartels, a representative from Xcel Energy.

In addition to past energy-saving projects, Bright Wood completed six energy efficiency upgrades through Focus on Energy at its facility in Menomonie facility in 2019 alone. These projects included LED lighting upgrades, the addition of a variable frequency drive, the installation of a pressure/flow controller for compressed air, and the replacement of air paint mixers with electric paint mixers to reduce the load on the company’s compressed air system.

“It’s exciting to see how Bright Wood has taken advantage of Focus on Energy,” said Commissioner Tyler Huebner from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, who attended the virtual presentation to congratulate Bright Wood on the award. “Their proactive approach, working with Focus on Energy, is a great example for other Wisconsin businesses to follow.”

Focus on Energy’s Excellence Awards honor program customers who have shown a commitment to leading in energy efficiency. Joleen Jensen, the Energy Advisor who worked closely with Bright Wood on its projects, nominated the manufacturer for this year’s awards because she recognized its increasing focus on reducing energy waste in the facility’s operations.

“We were pleased to be able to help out and reduce [Bright Wood’s] energy costs and set the business up for the long term,” said Bill Lobner, an Energy Advisor from Focus on Energy who will continue working with the company on future projects.

In 2019, Bright Wood also participated in Focus on Energy’s Staffing Incentive for rural customers. The manufacturer received incentives from Focus on Energy to help local representatives get buy-in from company management to complete the energy efficiency projects.

“Thanks to the entire Focus on Energy team. Everybody has been extremely helpful thorough all the projects and paperwork submitted,” said George Loudermilk from Bright Wood, who accepted the award on behalf of the company. “We started out with a compressed air survey to find out where we had issues. That led us to a leak detection survey to fix leaks and conserve energy. Then the whole compressed air thing just kind of grew.”

Counting all the energy efficiency projects completed in 2019, Bright Wood will save 100,109 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually and 1,692,829 kWh over the lifetime of the equipment, which is equivalent to removing 259 cars off the road. The manufacturer received $4,512.51 in incentives from Focus on Energy for making these upgrades.

As Bright Wood continues to work on new projects with the potential to save energy in its facility, the manufacturer intends to contact Focus on Energy for assistance. The company relies on program incentives, which help offset the costs of energy-efficient upgrades, and the expertise of program staff to implement energy-saving measures and remain dedicated to an energy-efficient future.

“We’re looking forward to more opportunities in the future,” said Loudermilk. “Just having these programs available, these incentives available, gave our company the comfort level to move forward with these projects, recoup some of what was spent, and know that, going forward, we’re conserving energy, as well. That’s a big deal for Bright Wood.”

Focus on Energy is working with utility companies across the state throughout September and October to present Energy Efficiency Excellence Awards to 14 outstanding businesses.

Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy resources program, partners with 107 utilities across the state to offer energy expertise and financial incentives to residents and businesses that choose to reduce energy waste. A third-party evaluation last year revealed Wisconsin runs the most cost-effective energy efficiency programs in the nation, in terms of energy savings per dollar spent. A separate evaluation released this year found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy generates $4.80 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced energy costs and reduced pollution.

About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by the state's investor-owned energy utilities and participating municipal and electric cooperative utilities. Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus on Energy information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control Wisconsin's growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information call 800.762.7077 or visit
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