Focus on Energy Announces Annual Award Winners on Earth Day

2020 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award winners


Madison – FOCUS ON ENERGY® is recognizing businesses and other groups across Wisconsin today for the impact each has made on the state through energy efficiency. The revealing of the Program’s annual Energy Efficiency Excellence Award winners coincides with Earth Day.

Focus on Energy, the statewide energy efficiency and renewable resources program, worked with its partner utilities across Wisconsin to choose 13 winners this year, each honored for efforts to reduce energy waste.

“It was very competitive this year. The submissions we received from our field staff and partner utilities were among the best we’ve seen,” said Erinn Monroe-Nye, Focus on Energy Program Director. “This year’s winners represent the groups across Wisconsin making smart energy decisions that will bring lasting change to Wisconsin. They are lowering their energy costs while making the state’s economy more globally competitive.”

This year’s winners include:

  • Advance Die Cast (Milwaukee)
  • Ashley Nelson Homes (Milton)
  • Aurora Health Care (Two Rivers)
  • Bright Wood Corporation (Menomonie)
  • Cascades Tissue Group (Eau Claire)
  • Coextruded Plastic Technologies, Inc. (Janesville)
  • Foremost Farms USA (Appleton & Plover facilities)
  • Fuller’s Milker Center, Inc. (Lancaster)
  • Mercury Marine (Fond du Lac)
  • Mosinee School District (Mosinee)
  • Pierce Manufacturing (Appleton)
  • Pukall Lumber Company (Arbor Vitae)
  • WPS Health Solutions (Madison)

“Focus on Energy provides a tremendous value to our state. It saves participating customers money on their energy bills, it saves costs for everyone by reducing power needs, and of note on Earth Day, it is an environmental win for Wisconsin because it reduces emissions,” said Tyler Huebner, Commissioner, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

Focus on Energy offers energy expertise and financial incentives to help Wisconsin homeowners, businesses and other groups invest in energy-efficient equipment and practices.

By getting in on energy efficiency, this year’s award winners not only see reduced energy consumption and cost savings – they also support technology innovation, job creation, lowered environmental impacts, increased competitiveness and reduced dependence on nonrenewable resources. The most recent third-party evaluation of Focus on Energy found:

  • Focus on Energy projects completed in 2018 contributed to first-year annual electricity savings of more than $90 million
  • Participant satisfaction with the Program increased to 9.1 out of 10
  • Participation increased in 13 of 16 core programs
  • Every $1 invested in Focus on Energy programs creates more than $5 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced energy costs and reduced pollution.

Below is more about the qualifications of each winner:

Advance Die Cast

Advance Die Cast LLC, an aluminum die caster in Milwaukee since 1920, has been updating to more efficient equipment since The Mumford Companies purchased the foundry in 2015. Projects include upgrading melting furnaces and recovering exhaust heat to help in the melting process. Advance Die Cast also upgraded five holding furnaces and the company has upgraded to LED lighting in its production areas, offices and exterior. The combined projects are saving Advance Die Cast more than $236,000 annually in avoided energy costs. Energy savings from those projects have a greenhouse gas equivalent of taking 308 cars off the road for a year.

Ashley Nelson Homes

Ashley Nelson was among the first real estate professionals to become a Focus on Energy Ambassador in 2019 and educating her customers on energy efficiency is now a cornerstone of her business. She has even started giving her clients closing gifts that focus on energy efficiency. For one client, she paid to have all their can lighting upgraded to LEDs. In less than one year, Ashley has referred more than 30 homebuying clients to Focus on Energy and put more than $4,000 in heating and cooling tune-up vouchers in the hands of her clients. Ashley also practices what she preaches, completing energy efficiency upgrades at both her home and office.

Aurora Medical Center in Manitowoc County

Nominated by its utility, Two Rivers Water & Light, the medical center was honored, in part, for a recently installed and implemented full building automation system that tracks and analyzes energy use throughout the facility. The staff has made it a priority to implement energy efficiency measures and practices to ensure that the hospital sustains a minimum carbon footprint, and their consistent efforts in energy efficiency have earned the facility an ENERGY STAR® Certification.

Bright Wood Corporation

Bright Wood Corporation, a maker of wood components and millwork, completed six energy efficiency projects at its Menomonie facility in 2019, including lighting upgrades, installation of a pressure/flow controller for its compressed air and replacement of air paint mixers with electric paint mixers. Projects completed in 2019 will provide the company annual savings of 100,109 kilowatt hours of electricity, which has the carbon dioxide equivalent of 77,000 pounds of coal burned.

Cascades Tissue Group – Eau Claire

Cascades Tissue Group’s integration of strategic energy management into its culture makes it a worthy winner. Cascades shows its commitment to energy efficiency through capital funding projects, energy measurement and site engagement. The company has taken advantage of Focus on Energy’s financial incentives and integrated efficiency into its business strategy. Following an energy audit in 2016, Cascades has incorporated best practices, implemented process improvements, upgraded to LED lighting and installed emerging technologies.

Coextruded Plastic Technologies, Inc.

Coextruded Plastic Technologies (CPT) makes Go-Green trays, which have a reduced carbon footprint compared to conventional thermoforming. Directed to Focus on Energy by its utility, Alliant Energy, CPT has implemented multiple energy-saving projects like nine rooftop units installed in 2019 that include Advanced Rooftop Controls. These new units will help CPT save 14,575 therms of natural gas and 301,049 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. That’s enough to power more than 250 homes for a full year.

Foremost Farms USA
Foremost Farms USA has made such a commitment to energy efficiency that two of its facilities – Plover and Appleton – were nominated for the award this year. Since the Plover facility started participating in Focus on Energy’s Strategic Energy Management program, it has seen more than $135,000 in energy savings. The Plover facility has also been recognized as 50001 Ready by the U.S. Department of Energy for establishing businesses practices around energy. The Appleton facility has also demonstrated outstanding commitment to energy efficiency through capital projects and behavioral changes. The facility has an energy team that meets monthly with their Energy Advisor from Focus on Energy and representatives from their utility, We Energies. The Appleton facility has implemented 11 efficiency projects over the past two years, including lighting improvements and leak identification and repair of both steam and compressed air systems. The projects have netted annual energy savings of more than $78,000.

Fuller’s Milker Center

Fuller's Milker Center, a Focus on Energy Trade Ally contractor, has helped more than 165 customers achieve energy savings and receive financial incentives through Focus on Energy over the past eight years. Fuller’s has promoted Focus on Energy’s agribusiness multiple equipment bonus to help its customers install more pieces of efficient technology and achieve more savings.

Mercury Marine

Mercury Marine is driven by environmentally conscious production and sustainable energy management. The company has made extensive production changes, building envelope upgrades, indoor and outdoor lighting conversions, and compressed air improvements. Through projects from 2018 to present, Mercury Marine is saving 2,733,386 kilowatt hours of electricity and 169,000 therms of natural gas annually, enough to power 478 homes for a year. The company is also saving more than a quarter of a million dollars annually from energy reduction. When expanding facilities at its headquarters in Fond du Lac, the company has used energy-efficient climate control and water-heating equipment, and it has used windows and natural light elements in the designs as a way to lower energy costs.

Mosinee School District

The school district and Director of Buildings and Grounds Steve Kaiser have been very proactive about efficiency and energy savings in district facilities. The district has three school locations totaling more than 438,000 square feet. Energy efficiency projects have included boilers, LED lighting, lighting controls and equipment that controls energy use in the motors of various equipment.

Pierce Manufacturing

Pierce Manufacturing’s energy efficiency projects have included extensive production changes, building envelope upgrades, indoor and outdoor lighting upgrades, compressed air improvements and improved motor controls. Projects from 2018 to present are saving the company a half-million dollars annually and saving enough energy each year to power more than 600 homes.

Pukall Lumber

Pukall Lumber recently completed a project that consolidated several dust collectors, enabling them to remove 108 horsepower of motors, with annual energy cost savings of $22,600. This family-owned sawmill in Arbor Vitae has been working with Focus on Energy since 2002 and has completed more than 15 energy efficiency projects at the mill during that time. The company has also made LED lighting upgrades at its showroom stores in Arbor Vitae, Manitowish Waters, Woodruff and Minocqua.

WPS Health Solutions

WPS Health Solutions in Madison has made saving energy a priority, completing more than 25 major energy efficiency projects since 2017. This includes more than ten major LED lighting retrofits, optimization of more than 20 different air handlers and their associated support equipment, optimization of datacenter climate controls, and even overhauling an old steam heating system and baseboard control system to a high-efficiency hot water system. The projects are saving WPS hundreds of thousands of dollars in avoided energy costs.

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