Pierce Manufacturing Heats Up Energy Efficiency Efforts, Earns Honor

2020 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award Winner


Appleton, Wis. – Pierce Manufacturing, a custom fire apparatus manufacturer, is celebrating its decision to commit to making energy efficiency improvements with a 2020 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award from FOCUS ON ENERGY®, in partnership with the company’s utility provider, We Energies. The award honors Focus on Energy customers who have shown a commitment to leading in energy efficiency.

“It’s certainly an honor to be recognized by Focus on Energy, and it’s incredible to see how our team members regularly show their dedication to the environment and the communities in which we live and operate,” said Mike Kephart, vice president of operations for Pierce’s Fire & Emergency Segment. “Team members continually identify ways they can make an impact by recognizing ways their work influences our environment.”

Since 2018, Pierce has consistently searched for ways to save energy in its operations. The company has completed 10 projects through Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy resources program. Some of the manufacturer’s facility upgrades include efficient production changes, building envelope enhancements, indoor and outdoor lighting conversions, compressed air upgrades, and the installation of variable frequency drives to improve motor controls.

Pierce has saved 5,000,000 kilowatt hours and 320,400 therms annually from its projects completed since 2018 – enough to provide energy to 604 homes for an entire year. The company has also received incentives from Focus on Energy totaling more than $420,000 for making energy-efficient upgrades. In addition, Pierce has saved over $500,000 annually in reduced energy costs each year and will continue this trend for many more years.

The manufacturer was nominated for the Excellence Award by its Energy Advisor from Focus on Energy, Richard Feustel, who has worked closely with the company on its energy-saving projects.

“Pierce Manufacturing has an energy efficient mindset,” said Feustel. “When situations of energy usage arise, Pierce asks the question, ‘Can we do this more efficiently?’” Richard continued, “I love getting calls and emails that ask, “Can Focus on Energy help us move this project forward by saving energy?’”

In addition to its energy efficiency improvements, Pierce has demonstrated – and continues to express – its dedication to reducing energy waste through various means. The manufacturer conducts annual compressed air studies to find opportunities for energy improvements and set up air leak kits throughout its facility, which are equipped with tools necessary to fix compressed air leaks. These allow staff to make repairs on the spot, saving time and energy and providing potential monetary savings of $30,000.

Further steps the company has taken to remain committed to its energy-saving efforts include:

  • Established waste and energy Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for its facility, which are tracked, recorded, and shared with its team, and are implementing plans to meet these goals.
  • Upgraded its building management system, submetering large equipment and sections of each facility to track performance and optimize energy use.
  • Has a certified ISO14001:2015 Environmental Management System (EMS) facility, the first domestically for all of Oshkosh Corporation.
  • Conducts overhead door inventories during which staff look for doors needing repair and use the compiled list to repair the seals and doors before the colder months to reduce door leaks.
  • Upgraded door insulation with new overhead doors with higher R values, increased insulation between doors, and installed more windows to allow in natural light, and added Green Hinges to the overhead doors, which hold exterior doors tight and reduces leakage.

“When a project to improve our processes is being reviewed, one of the first items we look at is the potential for energy savings and how we can make it happen,” said Pierce’s Director of Facilities, Dan Sutheimer. “It is great to see the growth of what we can do as more and more employees get involved with energy conservation.”

Pierce has even gone above making energy equipment upgrades; the company also embraces the health of its natural surroundings. The manufacturer converted an area that was mowed lawn to a native prairie, saving energy and decreasing its carbon footprint.

Furthermore, Pierce makes a point to spread energy efficiency to its community, which the company has accomplished in numerous ways:

  • Partnered with Goodwill to have safety glasses washed, sanitized and repackaged for use, in lieu of throwing them away. In 2019, Goodwill packaged their 100,000th pair of glasses, saving over four tons of plastic from going to the landfill.
  • Donated over 200 binders to a local school to help those that need these supplies. This also diverted these binders from the landfill.
  • Donated out-of-commission fire hoses, which were used to make can koozies. The income from the repurposed koozies goes back to those emergency responders serving our communities.

The manufacturer also gives back to its hard-working staff and encourages them to learn more about the energy efficiency movement through various events and initiatives:

  • Hosted a zero-waste open house event serving hundreds of team members and their families. All waste from the lunch was sent for composting.
  • Held an electronic waste recycling event for its team members that generated 41,000 pounds of electronic waste for recycle, a larger amount than some city electronic-waste events.
  • Partnered with a company to recycle their plastic. The baled plastic is recycled into plastic deck boards. This partnership has diverted over 58 tons of plastic from going to the landfill.
  • Hosted six onsite lighting fairs through Focus on Energy and TechniArt to increase employee energy awareness. The fairs provided LEDs and other energy-saving items to staff at reduced costs for personal use. The event resulted in 8,824 LEDs being purchased, saving employees over 10,600,000 kWh and $1,043,000 over the life of bulbs, enough to power 1,267 homes for one year.

“Pierce Manufacturing is continuously searching for employee involvement in energy conservation,” said Feustel. “I routinely get specific requests for new energy saving ideas. I answer this with a nice list of Focus on Energy offerings and innovative ideas. The beauty is that Pierce Manufacturing acts on my suggestions. It is not a list to throw on the shelf; instead, they reply with, ‘Let’s make this happen.’”

“Everyone holds a piece of the puzzle as we fulfill the company’s commitment to the environment, said Jim Johnson, president of Pierce and executive vice president of Oshkosh Corporation. “Each team member has a role to play. It takes a collaboration in how we manufacture fire apparatus to preserve resources and protect our environment.”

Through its ongoing efforts to take advantage of energy efficiency opportunities and engage its community in energy-saving practices, Pierce continues to exemplify outstanding commitment to a more energy-conscious Wisconsin and will reap the benefits for years to come.

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 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 www.focusonenergy.com

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