Variety of Wisconsin Businesses Leading Way in Energy Efficiency

Press Release


Sixteen State Businesses, Institutions Honored with Energy Efficiency Excellence Award

Madison – Focus on Energy and its partner utilities across the state worked together for the past month to honor 14 Wisconsin businesses, a school district and a historical society with 2018 Energy Efficiency Excellence Awards.

The winners, nominated by energy advisors from the Focus on Energy program, were chosen for the outstanding strides they made in improving their energy efficiency this past year. They run the gamut of Wisconsin industries, from paper and steel manufacturers to family dairy farms and cheesemakers. Each of the 16 winners are listed below with descriptions explaining how they earned their awards.

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions - Wisconsin Dells
Working with Alliant Energy and Focus on Energy Trade Ally contractors, Kalahari completed numerous energy efficiency projects at its hotel and waterpark in Wisconsin Dells. These included new LED lights in the hotel lobby and corridors, a more efficient pool filtration system, and waterslide controls that operate based on rider occupancy.
The changes made in 2017 alone are expected to save Kalahari more than $145,000 annually in reduced energy costs. Kalahari received a total incentive of more than $50,000 from Focus on Energy for these projects.

Vintage Brewing Company - Sauk City
Vintage Brewing Company was the only Wisconsin brewer chosen this year. The company has worked with its utilities, Alliant Energy and Sauk City Utilities, to make several energy-efficient changes at its Sauk City location, including upgrades to LED lighting and a custom refrigeration system.
“Focus on Energy has made it easier for us to navigate through a lot of the energy savings we knew we wanted to do, but just didn’t know how to go about doing them,” said Vintage Brewing Company owner Trent Kraemer.

Streich Equipment - Wausau
Streich Equipment has been active in Focus on Energy’s Midstream Commercial Kitchen Equipment (MCKE) program. Through the program, the company offers restaurants and other businesses instant incentives that reduce the purchase price of qualifying energy-efficient commercial kitchen equipment.
Energy advisors with the Focus on Energy program worked with Streich Equipment say the company, A WPS customer, has become a statewide model for effective use of the MCKE program and delivering great savings to customers.

Abcon Electric - Kaukauna
Abcon Electric is served by Kaukauna Utilities, a member utility of WPPI Energy. The company is a Trade Ally contractor for Focus on Energy and has done an outstanding job staying up to date on the latest lighting technology. Abcon consistently ensures its customers are aware of various Focus on Energy programs that offer monetary incentives.

Expera-Nicolet Mill - De Pere
Expera has worked with its utility, Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), and Focus on Energy over the years to complete energy assessments of processes at the Nicolet Mill and integrate changes based on the results.
“(When) we look back 3-4 years ago, we were thinking we didn’t have any more ideas,” said Plant Manager Chris Williams. “So we brought in other people to look at what we do, and maybe not give us the final answer but spark the right questions to get this team together and figure out what we can do to save money.”
Recent energy efficiency projects at the mill include LED lighting upgrades, steam system management upgrades, and installation of higher-efficiency agitators and pulper rotors. Incentives from Focus on Energy’s Large Energy Users program helped offset part of the cost of the improvements.

C.S. Construction - Eau Claire
C.S. Consruction was honored for its work improving air sealing and insulation in 107 duplex units at the WestRidge Park development in Eau Claire.
As a Focus on Energy Trade Ally contractor, C.S. Construction reached out to the property owner and partnered with Xcel Energy to make improvements in all the duplexes eligible for incentives through the Focus on Energy Home Performance with the ENERGY STAR® program.
The estimated energy savings at the newly sealed and insulated duplexes is enough to power roughly 1,400 homes for one year.

Malteurop - Milwaukee
The only winner from Milwaukee, Malteurop, was awarded for actively looking for ways to reduce energy waste in recent years. The company identified several areas for improvement after an energy audit of its facilities.
Malteurop, one of the nation’s largest suppliers of malt to North America’s brewing industries, optimized its lighting, compressed air, dust collection, and chilled water systems. The projects are expected to bring annual energy savings of almost $40,000.

Two Rivers Public School District - Two Rivers
In 2017, the District switched the interior lighting in all of its buildings and all athletic field lighting to LED fixtures. These changes will produce estimated savings of $42,000 annually—a 10% improvement over the previous year. The District received an incentive of more than $49,000 from Focus on Energy to help offset the cost of the projects.
The school district also installed high-efficiency boilers and hot water heaters in 2014/15, in addition to more efficient heating and cooling systems.
Two Rivers Public Schools is a customer of Two Rivers Water and Light, a member utility of WPPI Energy.

Charter Steel - Saukville
Working with We Energies and Focus on Energy Trade Ally contractors, Charter Steel has worked to become more energy efficient in recent years with at least 30 distinct projects implemented since 2015 at its Saukville facility. Focus on Energy incentives totaling more than $163,000 helped offset the cost of those projects.
In December 2017, Charter’s Saukville location became the first steel mill in the country to achieve certification in the ISO 50001 International Standard for Energy Management Systems, the culmination of a 24-month process.

Mount Horeb Area Historical Society - Mount Horeb
The Historical Society will save more than $9,000 a year in reduced energy costs after receiving total incentives of more than $14,000 from Focus on Energy for energy-saving measures implemented at its expanded Driftless Historium. Projects at the new facility included an energy-efficient heating and cooling system and energy-efficient lighting.

Hampton Inn - Superior
The hotel is owned by Oliver Companies, which has worked with Focus on Energy in the past at several of its other Wisconsin properties. The company called Focus on Energy in 2015 when they first started planning to build the Superior hotel and made energy efficiency in the building a priority.
Oliver Companies worked with Superior Water, Light & Power on the project. Energy-saving features include interior and exterior LED lighting as well as energy-efficient heat pumps, water heaters and cooling equipment.
The hotel’s annual energy savings will be enough to power 18 average homes for a year. Oliver Companies received Focus on Energy incentives of more than $13,000 for the project.

Peterson’s Dairy - Lena
Working with Oconto Electric Cooperative and Focus on Energy Trade Ally contractors, Peterson’s Dairy invested in energy efficiency when building its new facility in 2017. The dairy installed LED lights, put energy-efficient drives on its milk and vacuum pumps, and added energy-free livestock waterers.
Peterson’s Dairy will save more than $43,000 a year in reduced energy costs and receive a total incentive of more than $28,000 through Focus on Energy’s Business Incentive Program.

Olsen’s Piggly Wiggly - Cedarburg
The grocery store completed two major energy-saving projects in 2017. The first was adding doors to cases in some refrigerated sections of the store, which conserves energy and increases customer comfort by reducing the amount of cold air escaping the cases.
In another effort to save energy and improve customer experience, Olsen’s Piggly Wiggly installed LED lights throughout the store. The two upgrades will help Olsen’s Piggly Wiggly save more than $17,000 a year in reduced energy costs. Focus on Energy incentives totaling more than $9,000 from helped offset project costs.

Eau Galle Cheese Factory - Durand
The Eau Galle Cheese Factory, founded in 1945, is a family business in Durand that has worked with Focus on Energy for years to save energy and improve its bottom line.
In 2017 alone, the company completed at least six projects that will save them more than $20,000 a year in energy costs. Because of these upgrades, the company has earned incentives of more than $9,000 from Focus on Energy.

Schneider Heating and Air Conditioning - Onalaska
Schneider Heating and Air Conditioning has been a Trade Ally contractor with Focus on Energy for many years and has helped many of its customers obtain incentives for switching to more energy efficient HVAC equipment.
“Focus on Energy has just really given us a platform to be able to push energy efficiency,” said co-owner Rick Schneider. “But, the bottom line is, we have a lot of customers that probably otherwise would not have been able to upgrade to a more efficient system if you did not provide the rebates. It’s really allowing homeowners to maybe step up to a system that’s [going to] save them money.”

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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