William Grede’s purchase of the Liberty Foundry in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, 103 years ago helped build the country as we know it today. Grede is a leading developer, manufacturer, and supplier of iron castings for automotive, industrial, and commercial truck vehicles; Grede’s customers shape the fast-paced, continuously evolving world.
Grede understands its other role in this ever-changing world – leadership in energy sustainability. With four Wisconsin foundries, Grede has worked with Focus on Energy and its utility partners, Alliant Energy and We Energies, and the Reedsburg Utility Commission for the last decade identifying energy efficiency projects that cut energy usage and substantially cut their energy bills.
In 2022, after a Level One Energy Assessment at its Browntown foundry, Grede implemented several energy efficiency projects which included shutting down one of their two furnaces.
Of course, a metal casting manufacturer will save money after shutting down a furnace, but how could it keep up with production AND grow business? Wisconsin businesses working with Focus on Energy have a dedicated energy advisor working with them every year, finding ways to save energy and money. These energy experts are provided AT NO COST for all businesses that work with Focus on Energy.
“We can tap into their expertise and be confident that the savings will be true,” Mark Brant, Grede Continuous Improvement Coordinator said. “The biggest help our Energy Advisor gave was with the calculations of the energy savings. This a big time-saver for Grede.”
Grede's Browntown plant had two holding furnaces which ran 8,760 hours per year; the average energy usage for each was 283.9kW and 265.4kW. After one of the furnaces went down and it would take time to order parts, Grede had to use one furnace for several months.
“There were some issues between our gray iron runs and our ductile runs,” Brant said. “But once we figured out running heavy for all gray iron before we could run our ductile iron, delays were minimal.”
After crunching the numbers with Focus on Energy Advisor Seve Lewallen, Brant realized Grede could successfully operate with just one of the furnaces.
“By shutting down that one furnace at the end of 2022, Grede will save nearly 2.5 million kWh per year,” Lewallen said. “That means the company is saving enough electricity each year to power 345 homes in its community.”
With energy savings of 28%, Brant and Lewallen got to work again looking for other potential cost savings ideas.
“Grede is dedicated to conserving energy to protect our planet and cast a brighter, more sustainable future,” Brant said.
Focus on Energy is currently studying the energy usage of another piece of equipment to calculate savings if they switched that machine out of the foundry.
“Take advantage of the Focus on Energy Program,” Brant said, “They bring a lot of knowledge and experience to our projects and there are so many incentive programs available that may go unnoticed without their help.”
Wisconsin manufacturers and businesses love the added benefits Focus on Energy provides at ZERO COST. On top of the rebates businesses receive after completing energy efficiency projects, we provide the businesses with personal energy expert who is working daily, weekly, yearly to help discover and accomplish energy savings. Here's how Energy Advisors and manufacturers work together.