Arts and Science Converge at New Arts Center in Downtown Eau Claire

Arts and Science Converge at New Arts Center in Downtown Eau Claire

Eau Claire, Wis. – It is easy to look at the Pablo Center at the Confluence and fixate on its beauty, but the gleaming new building sitting at the intersection of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers offers more than an eye-catching design. The facility is also the new center of a prospering arts scene in Eau Claire and an example of energy efficiency in performing spaces.

Energy-efficient features in the building earned the Pablo Center checks totaling more than $25,000 Tuesday from Focus on Energy and Xcel Energy. The money is a financial incentive to help offset the greater cost of the more efficient equipment.

“It isn’t just about showcasing high-quality art and productions; it’s about doing so in a responsible way…that helps both the bottom line and the environment,” said Jason Jon Anderson, Executive Director of the Pablo Center at the Confluence.

The facility does not have a traditional central-air system since it houses so many separate spaces: a 1,200-seat Broadway-style theater, a 400-seat black box theater, a recital hall, multiple rehearsal rooms, visual arts gallery space, scene and costume shops, labs for sound and lighting, and a recording studio. Instead, it has multiple high-efficiency air-conditioning systems. The Pablo Center also has more than 700 LED lights and fixtures, and variable frequency drives help control the energy use of its heating pumps.

The energy efficiency projects completed through Focus on Energy, over their lifecycle, will save the Pablo Center 5,637,662 kilowatt hours of electricity – enough to handle the electrical needs of nearly 700 homes for a full year and equal to about 4.3 million pounds of coal burned.

"Already, the Pablo Center at the Confluence has brought new life to downtown Eau Claire and we are proud of our partnership with Focus on Energy and this state-of-the-art, and energy efficient facility," said Tom Bachmeier, Xcel Energy Mid-Market representative. "These incentives are just the beginning of the story for the Pablo as they will now save money annually on their energy bills.”

Focus on Energy was introduced to the project through the general contractor, Market & Johnson, a Focus on Energy Trade Ally.

“Xcel Energy and our local Trade Allies were all very helpful and accommodating in my work to identify the myriad of eligible efficiency measures,” said Rex Schultrich, the Energy Advisor from Focus on Energy assigned to the project.

The measures he mentioned earned the Pablo Center a $21,558.23 incentive from Focus on Energy. Xcel Energy, one of the 107 Wisconsin utilities that fund the Focus on Energy program, also contributed a $4,000 bonus incentive.

The Pablo Center at the Confluence offers the community a facility capable of providing transformative training, learning and creative opportunities. It operates in support of a mission focused on augmenting and developing regional education opportunities in the performing and visual arts for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Customers of the 107 utilities that participate in the Focus on Energy program 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

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