Fond du Lac, Wis. – Mercury Marine, a world-leading manufacturer of marine propulsion systems, began working with FOCUS ON ENERGY® and partnering utility provider, Alliant Energy, in 2018 to build upon its four sustainability pillars: Energy, Environment, Product and People. Ranging from building upgrades inside and out to hosting sustainability initiatives and events, the manufacturer’s efforts have demonstrated its strong commitment to energy efficiency and earned it one of Focus on Energy’s 2020 Energy Efficiency Excellence Awards.
“Alliant Energy is pleased that Mercury Marine is being recognized for its accomplishments in energy efficiency and we congratulate them on receiving this award,” said Kathy Leifer, senior key account manager at Alliant Energy. “I have witnessed firsthand Mercury Marine’s energy efficiency excellence through partnering on many energy-saving projects over the years. We appreciate that the company shares our vision for a sustainable, responsible clean energy future.”
The Excellence Award honors Focus on Energy participants who have shown a commitment to leading in energy efficiency. Since joining forces with Focus on Energy to implement energy-efficient upgrades, Mercury Marine has completed an impressive list of energy-saving projects at its company headquarters in Fond du Lac.
“We are fortunate to operate within a state with such an effective energy efficiency and renewable resource program,” said Scott Louks, sustainability manager at Mercury Marine. “Focus on Energy is a great partner in helping Mercury realize its energy-oriented sustainability goals, and receiving this recognition is an honor.”
One of these projects was a building expansion, including the construction of a $10 million facility and the expansion and modernization of the foundry and die-casting plant, new assembly operations, and the marine propellers production plant. Upgrades within these facilities included increased use of windows and natural-light elements; LED lightbulb installments; the addition of automated, energy-efficient and modern assembly and machining equipment; and energy-efficient equipment upgrades for climate control and water heating.
Through Focus on Energy, Mercury Marine also hosted 17 onsite lighting fairs to increase awareness about energy efficiency with its employees. These events provided employees with LEDs and other energy-savings products at reduced costs. In total, 25,627 LEDs were purchased at the lighting fairs, saving Mercury Marine employees over 33,155,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) and $3,210,000 over the life of bulbs – enough to power 4,000 homes for one year.
“We have engaged many of our employees in our workplace initiatives to reduce energy consumption on behalf of the organization at Mercury facilities,” said Louks. “The lighting fairs were a way to get employees involved at home, as well. These events were extremely well-received, generating enthusiastic responses from our workers.”
Richard Feustel, Mercury Marine’s Energy Advisor from Focus on Energy, nominated the company for the award. “The teamwork and focus of Mercury Marine’s energy team is exceptional,” said Feustel. “We meet regularly, sharing possible energy saving ideas and challenging each other to find ways to save energy and improve energy awareness.”
Mercury Marine consistently strives to reap the most environmental benefits out of the its operations, which inspired the manufacturer to implement a sustainable process for aluminum use. The process uses only recycled sources of aluminum, which saves 95% of the energy required by non-recycled aluminum and only produces 5% of the greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the sustainable process melts and purifies discarded vehicle wheels, wiring, and scrap for castings.
In addition, the manufacturer uses an innovative preheating technique to reduce energy use when melting recycled aluminum. The preheating process saves the company 20% more natural gas than the standard aluminum scrap-melting process. This equates to approximately nine billion BTUs of energy saved each year, which is equivalent to saving nearly 73,000 gallons of gasoline.
Mercury Marine also uses patented aluminum alloys and an award-winning die-casting process to create engine blocks that weigh less and use less raw material without sacrificing durability and performance. Using less raw material for the casting means conserved aluminum resource, and the lightweight design of Mercury’s engine castings also allows for superior fuel efficiency.
“Our responsible use of aluminum saves energy at several stages not only in our manufacturing of marine engines but also in consumers’ use of them,” said Louks. “We use 100% recycled materials in efficient manufacturing processes that conserve materials and reduce waste, all of which provide boaters with lightweight and fuel-efficient motors.”
Along with facility and operations improvements, Mercury Marine inspires its employees to remain engaged with and cognizant of practices that reduce energy waste and promote sustainability. Local employees conducted an electronics recycling and food drive event at the headquarters to divert electronics from going to the landfill – the recycling costs for which the company paid – and donate food to a local food pantry. Event organizers and volunteers collected enough discarded electronic devices from employees to fill three and a half full-sized, 53-foot semitrailers, and delivered four pallets of non-perishable food items to the food pantry.
“The proper recycling of used electronics not only spares the environment from having hazardous materials in landfills but also saves energy,” Louks explained. “Even many long obsolete electronic items contain parts and materials that can be repurposed or reused in new devices. This rededication of resources saves energy that would otherwise be used in manufacturing new items from scratch.”
Feustel applauded Mercury Marine’s consistent leadership in energy efficiency progress within the company and across the greater community. “From energy-efficient facility improvement to production upgrades, the Mercury Marine energy program drives energy conservation not only in energy projects, but just as importantly, in efficiency behavior and improved operational procedures.”
Focus on Energy is working with utility companies across the state throughout September and October to present Energy Efficiency Excellence Awards to 14 outstanding businesses.
Focus on Energy partners with 107 utilities across the state to offer energy expertise and financial incentives to residents and businesses that choose to reduce energy waste. A third-party evaluation last year revealed Wisconsin runs the most cost-effective energy efficiency programs in the nation, in terms of energy savings per dollar spent. A separate evaluation released this year found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy generates $4.80 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced energy costs and reduced pollution.
About Mercury Marine
Headquartered in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Mercury Marine is a world-leading manufacturer of recreational marine propulsion engines. A division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), Mercury provides engines, boats, services and parts for recreational, commercial and government marine applications, empowering boaters with products that are easy to use, extremely reliable and backed by the most dedicated customer support in the world. Mercury’s industry-leading brand portfolio includes Mercury outboard engines; Mercury MerCruiser sterndrive and inboard packages; Mercury propellers; Mercury inflatable boats; Mercury SmartCraft electronics; Land ’N’ Sea marine parts distribution; and Mercury and Quicksilver parts and oils. More information is available at mercurymarine.com.