Madison, Wis. – FOCUS ON ENERGY® and its partnering utilities across the state recently wrapped up a busy summer honoring a record-breaking number of Energy Efficiency Excellence Award winners.
The 18 winners are in every corner of the state and run the gamut of Wisconsin industry, from dairy and manufacturing to brewing and retail. This year’s list of winners also includes a city, a college, a school district and one of Wisconsin’s tribal nations. One thing they all have in common is a commitment to increasing energy efficiency and decreasing energy costs.
The winners were nominated by Energy Advisors from Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable resources program. Here is a list of the 2019 award winners and a summary of how each earned its award:
- Milwaukee Area Technical College
The college has completed or is in the process of completing 21 energy efficiency projects with Focus on Energy since the beginning of 2017, including retrocommissioning of campus buildings, converting 25% of lighting to high-efficiency LEDs and a geothermal heating project at its Mequon campus.
All the projects have moved the college closer to the goal of reducing 50% of its energy load by 2030.
- Brewery Nonic
The Verdon family kept energy efficiency and customer comfort in mind when converting the old Menomonie Railroad Station into a brewery last year, installing energy-efficient boilers, air-conditioning units, chillers and lighting.
Focus on Energy gave the brewery a financial incentive of nearly $2,500 to help offset the up-front costs of investing in high-efficiency equipment, and the brewery will see savings on its energy bills for years to come.
- Little Chute Area School District
The smallest school district in the state of Wisconsin, geographically, was the only school district to win a 2019 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award.
The district said its commitment to being a good steward of taxpayer money led to several investments in energy efficiency at its renovated intermediate/middle/high school: hundreds of LED light fixtures, boilers, air-conditioning units, and high-efficiency ovens, dishwashers and freezers in the school cafeteria.
Energy savings over the life of the energy-efficient equipment at the renovated school is enough to power 1,300 homes for one year.
- Klein’s Floral and Greenhouses
Sue Klein’s decision to rebuild and secure an energy-efficient future for her business meant tearing down the old farmhouse and greenhouses that had been in her family since her grandparents bought the east Madison property in 1913.
Working with Focus on Energy, the new, improved Klein’s Floral, which opened last year, includes high-efficiency boilers and unit heaters, energy-efficient double-pane windows and a double-polycarbonate building envelope. The features will help Klein’s save more than $29,000 a year in avoided energy costs.
- Miron Construction
As one of the nation’s premiere construction firms, Miron Construction builds everything from office and retail space to fire stations, libraries and churches. The Neenah-based builder also encourages its clients in all sectors to think about sustainability.
In 2018 alone, Miron Construction helped enroll 37 participants in Focus on Energy’s Design Assistance Program, making sure its clients knew about the energy expertise and financial incentives Focus on Energy provides to ratepayers of the 107 Wisconsin utilities that partner in the Program.
- Penda Corp
A manufacturer of thermoformed plastic products, Penda has a long-standing commitment to continuous improvement in energy savings that has ramped up in recent years. Between 2012 and 2017, the company worked with Focus on Energy on 14 projects, then did 14 more projects in 2018 alone.
Penda’s participation in Focus on Energy’s Strategic Energy Management (SEM) Program includes regular meetings with an Energy Advisor to monitor and discuss energy performance from each previous month.
- New Glarus Brewing Company
The brewery has been working with Focus on Energy since 2013 on projects ranging from floating head pressure controls in its refrigerated warehouse to LED lighting upgrades and rooftop solar panels.
With seven combined energy efficiency projects at its two locations, New Glarus Brewing will see lifecycle energy savings of 5,409,515 kilowatt hours of electricity and 96,240 therms of natural gas – enough energy to power 520 homes for a full year
New Glarus Brewing Company entrance
- Langmeier Dairy
The award recognizes energy efficiency projects at Langmeier Dairy’s new facility, where it processes and packages organic Brussel sprouts. Those projects included energy-efficient LED lighting and variable frequency drives (VFDs) to control the motor speed of the conveyor systems and packaging equipment used on the assembly line. The VFDs alone cut energy use by 30-40%.
The dairy received a financial incentive of more than $4,500 from Focus on Energy to help offset the initial cost of the efficiency equipment, and the energy cost savings are estimated at $161,000 over the life of the equipment.
Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes and a representative from Langmeier Dairy
- Fleet Farm
The Wisconsin-based retail chain’s goal of creating an inviting space for all its customers led Fleet Farm, starting in 2017, to work with Focus on Energy on upgrades to energy-efficient LED lighting at all of its 18 existing Wisconsin stores.
Fleet Farm’s new distribution center, which opened in Chippewa Falls in 2018, was built with LED lighting and energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment. The four new retail stores the company opened in 2018 – in DeForest, Delavan, Eau Claire and Oconomowoc – also included energy-efficient heating, cooling and lighting equipment. At the Eau Claire location alone, Fleet Farm will save around $1.5 million in avoided energy costs over the life of the equipment, compared to baseline lights and HVAC.
- American Family Insurance
American Family Insurance has been a frequent and effective participant in the Focus on Energy program with 25 energy-efficiency projects since 2010 and eight completed in 2018 alone.
Last year’s projects included an extensive remodel of American Family’s East Regional Building and a major renovation project at the company’s National Headquarters.
American Family is also investing in solar energy, installing about three acres of solar panels on the roof of its national headquarters building.
- Meister Cheese
Meister Cheese has leveraged Focus on Energy expertise and financial incentives over the years to complete lighting, cooling and other efficiency projects. That includes a 2017 effort by Meister subsidiary, Muscoda Protein Products LLP, to install a $1.7 million anaerobic lagoon for treating cheese production wastewater that contains high concentrations of biodegradable organic matter.
Focus on Energy offered technical support on the project, which went online in 2018. By beneficially utilizing its waste products, Muscoda Protein Products and Meister Cheese will avoid using nearly 130,000 therms of natural gas and 2.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, saving the company an estimated $200,000 per year in energy costs.
The anaerobic lagoon also benefits the surrounding community by removing some 60 to 80 loads of waste material per month that would otherwise be trucked away for disposal.
- City of La Crosse
The award honored the Mayor’s Home Energy Challenge, an effort to help La Crosse homeowners see the value of energy efficiency and get them excited about improving the comfort and energy savings of their homes. Outreach included a letter to La Crosse residents directly from Mayor Tim Kabat, posters at local businesses, and a website where residents could learn more about the campaign and sign up.
The first 100 residents to participate were eligible for Focus on Energy financial incentives, plus bonus incentives from their utility, Xcel Energy, and the City.
The effort led to roughly doubled participation by City of La Crosse residents in Focus on Energy’s Home Performance Program.
Mayor Tim Kabatt responds to interview questions at the award ceremony.
- The Galloway Company and Classic Mix Partners
In 2018, the company substantially upgraded its production process, adding Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) to almost all of its pumping and mixing equipment in an effort to better control energy use.
The investment will pay off for years to come, as the project is estimated to save 2.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year and $245,000 in avoided annual electricity costs.
- Grassland Dairy
The dairy turned what was once considered a waste product into a fuel source.
Grassland went from burning off the biogas produced at its anaerobic wastewater treatment system to using the gas to create electricity. The company installed a 550-kilowatt generator fueled by the biogas, receiving a financial incentive from Focus on Energy to help offset the initial cost of the project.
As a result, the dairy is now offsetting nearly 4,000,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year and trimming about $20,000 a month from its energy bills.
- Oneida Nation
The Oneida Nation’s commitment to energy efficiency and creating a comfortable, safe environment at its school and other buildings earned the tribe its award.
The Nation’s 2018 projects with Focus on Energy included a variable air volume and controls project at Turtle School that has created a more comfortable space for students and will save Oneida Nation more than $55,000 a year in avoided energy costs.
Additional efficiency projects Oneida Nation completed last year included a conversion to LED lighting with motion sensors at Turtle School and Norbert Hill Center.
- Eland Electric
The third-generation, family-owned company stands out for its work on solar projects, providing expertise and making sure their residential and business customers take advantage of Focus on Energy financial incentives.
The company has worked on more than 50 solar energy projects with Focus on Energy since the start of 2018, in addition to 40 energy efficiency projects. The company also practices what it sells, installing rooftop solar panels and a tracker in the yard outside the business’ location on Holmgren Way in Green Bay.
Eland Electric award with solar array at Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay
- SES Group
The company designs and implements solutions for HVAC and indoor air quality at commercial and industrial facilities. As a Focus on Energy Trade Ally contractor, SES has proactively and effectively leveraged the expertise and financial incentives available through Focus on Energy to provide cost-effective and energy-efficient options for its customers.
Commercial and industrial companies working with SES Group on projects have been awarded more than $2.6 million in Focus on Energy financial incentives since 2012. Those projects have resulted in energy savings totaling roughly 6,300,000 MMBtu.
- Manitowoc-Two Rivers YMCA
The organization has worked continuously in recent years to make improvements for the community members who use its facility on Maritime Drive, including upgrades that reduce energy use and cut energy costs.
Over the past four years, Manitowoc-Two Rivers YMCA has worked with Focus on Energy to increase the energy efficiency of heating and cooling units, laundry equipment and pool pump motors in its facility, while also installing energy-efficient LED lighting with occupancy sensors and network controls.
Combined energy savings from the projects over the life of the equipment equals roughly 3,700,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and 16,800 therms of natural gas. That’s enough energy to power 320 homes for a full year.