Reedsburg, WI – Dianne and Dick Sharratt’s new cold storage warehouse looks like a simple operation: a series of large rooms kept at different temperatures for storing dairy, fruit and vegetables produced in Wisconsin. But closer inspection reveals an impressive example of efficiency in an energy-intensive industry.
“Electrical consumption in this industry is the greatest cost we have, aside from debt reduction,” said Dick Sharratt.
The Sharratts have dedicated their careers to the public refrigerated warehousing industry. Over the past 40 years, Dick and Dianne have founded, built and operated four major cold storage facilities in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois – and their experiences have culminated in the construction of the still brand-new-looking facility on Fuhrman Drive in the Reedsburg Industrial Park.
“We’re very pleased,” Dick said. “It is the best that we have in the industry today.”
The 100,000-square-foot Reedsburg facility, completed in 2018, embraces the latest in refrigeration technology and building design, housing a sophisticated computer-controlled ammonia refrigeration system that draws on a variety of energy management concepts to control electrical consumption. As a result, annual energy costs for the building will be roughly $170,000 less than in a similar facility with baseline equipment.
“It’s a very impressive facility. And, obviously, the Sharratts take great pride in what they’ve built here in Reedsburg. And it’s a great asset for our community,” said Brett Schuppner, General Manager of the Reedsburg Utility Commission, a member of WPPI Energy.
“[It is] great to see a customer who’s successful here in Reedsburg. We’ve seen this project blossom throughout the last couple of years here. It’s an amazingly efficient system and we’re really happy to be able to help get this project off the ground,” said WPPI Energy Services Representative Anna Stieve.
Focus on Energy provided energy expertise to the Sharratts during the building process, along with financial incentives totaling more than $125,000 to help offset the initial cost of the more energy-efficient – and more expensive – refrigeration equipment. Representatives from Focus on Energy, Reedsburg Utility Commission and WPPI presented a ceremonial check for that amount to the Sharratts on Monday.
“[Focus on Energy has] been very cooperative. They bring a lot of detail to their job and we were able to communicate with them very easily through their representatives. And they were very generous with their coordination in our requests for grants,” Sharratt said.
“Focus on Energy has always been really easy to work with, responsive to our needs or our customers,” Schuppner added. “And it’s ultimately our customers we [have to] keep happy. [Focus on Energy] has always been great to our residential customers, or our business and large industrial [customers].”
The respective staffs of the City of Reedsburg, the Reedsburg Utility Commission, WPPI, and Focus on Energy helped coordinate the financial incentives for efficiency in conjunction with other financing. Focus on Energy Trade Ally contractors – including the general contractor, ESI Constructors, and Innovative Refrigeration Systems – provided crucial leadership and knowledge throughout the design and construction process.
The refrigeration system they installed, over the course of its life, is estimated to save an amount of electricity that equates to roughly 28 million pounds of coal burned.
The Reedsburg Utility Commission is one of the 107 Wisconsin utilities that fund and participate in the Focus on Energy program. All customers of those 107 utilities are eligible for the energy expertise and financial benefits Focus on Energy provides to residents, businesses, farms, schools and local governments.
The most recent independent evaluation found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy programs creates $5.93 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 focusonenergy.com.