Madison, Wis. – Rocky Knoll Health Care Center – a Sheboygan County-owned, licensed and certified skilled nursing facility, offering both short and long-term care for 149 residents—made big investments in energy efficiency beginning in 2012 and continuing through 2020. Strategic operational planning that included energy efficiency projects secured a 2021 Energy Efficiency Excellence (EEE) Award from FOCUS ON ENERGY®.
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes presented the 2021 EEE Award to Tim Chisholm, Rocky Knoll Building Services Director and Kayla Clinton, Rocky Knoll Administrator. Lt. Gov. Barnes praised the Center’s participation in Focus on Energy and its commitment to reducing energy waste by implementing energy savings upgrades. “Not only does Rocky Knoll do incredible work to care for people in Sheboygan County, but they’ve also made it a priority to increase their energy savings and reduce their carbon footprint,” said Barnes.
The EEE Award honors Focus on Energy participants who have shown a commitment to leading in energy efficiency – and Rocky Knoll has an eight-year history of demonstrating such a commitment to achieving energy efficiency, with the added benefit of reaping operational cost savings. Clinton thanked the Sheboygan County Board stating, “Rocky Knoll is grateful to have the support of a board who continues to invest in energy efficiency improvements and other enhancements.”
Rocky Knoll’s success is the result of the collaborative partnership with Focus on Energy, and the Center’s utilities –Plymouth Utilities, a WPPI energy member, and the Wisconsin Public Service.
“It’s a blessing to have this job,” said Joe Kottwitz, a seasoned Energy Adviser for Focus on Energy, who nominated the Center for its consistent dedication to energy efficiency efforts through the Focus Program. Kottwitz heralded the Center for not only striving to achieve energy efficiency, but for prioritizing the safety of the building occupants and optimizing systems. Sheboygan County as a whole has pursued energy efficiency projects for 10 years and secured other Focus on Energy funding for county-wide energy efficiency projects, but, says Kottwitz, “Rocky Knoll Health Care Center is certainly a gem that stands out.”
Rocky Knoll’s energy efficiency improvements included: converting the whole building to LED lighting, retro-commissioning of the HVAC system, installing energy-efficient boiler heat systems, installing controls on their kitchen ventilation hoods, and a new energy-efficient commercial dishwasher. Of particular note, the process of retro-commissioning identified and fixed many deferred maintenance/controls issues, which improved the reliability of their heating/cooling systems during the most extreme weather events.
Since Rocky Knoll Health Care Center’s first project application in 2012, Focus on Energy has provided $87,000 in financial incentives, with Rocky Knoll realizing energy savings of almost $57,000 per year on utility bills. Resulting annual energy savings are 331,970 kilowatt hours and 86,765 therms, the equivalent of supplying monthly electric service for 41 Wisconsin homes and natural gas service to 150 homes.
Barnes praised Rocky Knoll for its commitment to installing such simple measures as LED lighting, which led to not only increased energy efficiency, but increased comfort for staff and patients – all important quality of life issues. In closing, Barnes said the State wants to invest in what works, and “this (Focus on Energy) is what works. We got a good thing going on here and … we have to continue to support amazing work that is effective for more Wisconsin businesses.”
Chisholm said they are doing more projects in the future and was thrilled to be an award recipient, stating “I believe we’re just appreciative of all the work that we’ve been able to do here and improve things dramatically. And we do have some fun projects coming in the future.” Future projects vary from expanded lighting upgrades in all resident rooms to a large water-cooling tower project.
Beginning in April, continuing through July, Focus on Energy and its utility partners across the state are presenting Energy Efficiency Excellence Awards to 12 outstanding businesses and organizations to honor their energy efficiency commitment. The awardees encompass a wide range of business types, including educational and medical facilities, manufacturers, farms, and partnering Focus on Energy Trade Ally contractors.
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 recent national study revealed Wisconsin runs the most cost-effective energy efficiency program in the nation, in terms of energy savings per dollar spent. A separate independent evaluation released last 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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