Siren – Energy-efficient upgrades are making an immediate difference for workers at an agency in northwestern Wisconsin with a special mission.
Diversified Services, Inc. (DSI), an affiliate agency of the Catholic Charities Bureau of Superior, provides vocational training and jobs to adults with disabilities.
DSI worked with Focus on Energy and its utilities – We Energies and Northwestern Wisconsin Electric Company – to recently install new, energy-efficient LED lights in its Siren, WI warehouse and replace its exterior lights with LEDs. The director of the facility, Joe Wacek, says the improved lighting quality was quickly noticed.
“Within a day or two of the work [being] done, a semi-truck driver left us a note [about] how much better delivering was as he arrives during the middle of the night,” Wacek says. “Our warehouse supervisor also was overjoyed with how much brighter the warehouse light was.”
The lighting changes, along with the installation of two high-efficiency furnaces, will also save DSI more than $3,000 a year in energy costs.
Focus on Energy offered DSI incentives for the lighting and furnace upgrades through its Community Small Business Offering (CSBO) program, a special proposal targeting small business owners in rural parts of Wisconsin. The total incentive payment for DSI’s energy efficiency projects totaled $8,871, which is more than half the cost of the upgrades. Thanks to the incentives, DSI’s lighting investment will pay for itself in just over three years and payback for the new furnaces will be less than two years.
Wacek says he learned about the program through a brochure delivered in the mail, informing him CSBO representatives would be in the Siren area performing free energy assessments. He called and set up an appointment with Bill Lobner, an Energy Advisor with Focus on Energy, who guided Wacek throughout the process.
“Bill was very helpful during this process and assisted me in navigating the forms and working with contractors,” Wacek says.
A recent evaluation report found that 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.
About Diversified Services, Inc.
DSI provides work opportunities to adults with disabilities, who make up about 60-percent of the agency’s workforce. They work side-by-side with DSI’s other employees and everyone is expected to do the work to the best of their abilities. In DSI’s competitive industrial environment, these individuals prove they can make valuable contributions to business. The agency’s services include product assembly, packaging to customer specifications, shrink wrapping and warehousing.