Renewable Energy Installations in WI

Friday, August 29, 2008

We Energies' Energy Efficiency Resource Library

From the Web site of the national AESP:

We Energies has made available an Energy Efficiency Resource Library -- click here to access the library. This energy efficiency library is located on our web site in the Business section, Energy Efficiency (WI or MI) Energy Management Information. Hopefully you may find this to be a useful search tool to enhance your own energy efficiency knowledge and product selections.
The library contains the following:
Commercial Energy Advisor
Commercial Energy Advisor provides detailed information on energy consumption in the following 10 market sectors: Congregational Buildings, Dairy Farms, Data Centers, Office Buildings, Motels, Hospitals, Restaurants, Retail, Grocery Stores, and Schools. You'll find advice on low- and no-cost steps you can take immediately to make your facilities operate more efficiently and reliably. You'll also find recommendations for trading up to more energy-efficient equipment that will improve building performance over the long run.

Operations & Maintenance Advisor
Did you know that O&M best practices can reduce a commercial building's energy consumption by 15 to 20 percent? O&M Advisor gives you highly detailed information about the steps you can take to improve the performance and energy efficiency of your equipment.

Purchasing Advisor || Calculators
Purchasing Advisor is an extensive online library of energy-related technology buyer's guides and management tips. Each guide offers a concise summary of the key facts about a given technology and its optimal application. We explain the importance of each technology in the context of overall energy management, review the available options, and offer an unbiased recommendation for the technology's use in a variety of commercial settings. We also cover issues that need to be considered when purchasing a given product. The Calculators page contains links to tools that will help you evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a variety of HVAC, lighting, power quality, refrigeration, and water heating equipment.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Alliant Energy Releases Annual Environmental Report

From a story on Yahoo Finance:

The report . . . details the utilities' efforts to establish strong biomass markets in Wisconsin and Iowa, and outlines the progress of mercury emissions monitoring at power plants. This year, the report includes an appendix focusing on energy efficiency programs for commercial/industrial, residential and agricultural utility customers, and examples of successful energy efficiency projects. . . .

Other key information in the report includes:

-- Installation and retrofitting of more than 1.4 million electric, natural gas and steam meters with Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) to improve energy forecasting and minimize purchasing energy on the spot market.

-- The 378 megawatts of wind energy IPL and WPL purchase in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin ranks Alliant Energy in the Top 10 among investor-owned utilities, according to the American Wind Energy Association. IPL and WPL will invest over $1 billion in new wind energy by the end of 2010.

-- In 2007, IPL and WPL energy efficiency programs resulted in new, additional savings of over 200,000 megawatt-hours of electricity and almost 7 million therms of natural gas.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Workshop: WPUI's Energy Utility Basics

From the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute:

WPUI's Energy Utility Basics
October 13-17, 2008, Fluno Center, Madison, Wisconsin

This is an annual foundation course, updated each year as technology, regulation, competition and markets evolve. The WPUI Basic Course for Energy Utilities was first offered in 1983. The Institute is proud to present this exceptional course.

Program summary
Over the course of four-and-a-half days participants will receive an introduction to the electric and natural gas industries, insights into regulatory decision-making, and insight into the current issues facing both industries.

Who should attend
This course is intended for anyone working in the energy industry, including public interest groups, legislative staff, regulatory staff, state and local government personnel.

Attendees will obtain practical, non-technical knowledge of the operations and technology of the natural gas and electricity industries.
Complete details at WPUI.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

RENEW Wisconsin argues for wind, questions biomass option for Cassville plant

Michael Vickerman submitted testimony on behalf of RENEW Wisconsin in the proceeding of the Public Service Commission on Alliant's proposed generation plant near Cassville:

In my testimony I will survey the windpower prospects under development by independent power producers (IPP’s) in the parts of Wisconsin served by WPL. This information will include an estimate of their annual production (in the aggregate) as well as the current permitting and interconnection status for each prospect. The second half of my testimony outlines RENEW’s concerns with WPL’s proposal to co-fire biomass at Nelson Dewey 3 [proposed Cassville plant] . . . .

Friday, August 22, 2008

JC Penney to follow Kohl's solar program

From an article by Jesse B. Gill in The Sun (San Bernardino):
REDLANDS - A Palm Grove Centre retailer is taking steps to be kinder to the environment - and its energy bill.

JC Penney is planning to use technology that would supply solar energy and wind to power its store. The company's plan to switch to renewable energy sources includes nine other JC Penney stores and a distribution center.

The Redlands store should be running on solar power by November, Lyons said.

Once it is equipped with solar panels, the system should provide about 25percent of the store's energy, said JC Penney spokesman Tim Lyons. JC Penney will also use electric meters and other data-gathering technology to monitor the amount of electricity used.

The decision to use solar power is a move the county supports, said Pat McGuckian, a county planner.

"It's something encouraging," he said. "It's certainly responsive to assist us to reduce the impacts of greenhouse gases. . . ."

McGuckian said JC Penney might not be the only store in the "doughnut hole," the nickname of the area given to an unincorporated area in northwest Redlands, to make the switch to solar power.

Kohl's has proposed to install solar panels on its store in Citrus Plaza, he said. A representative of Kohl's indicated that solar energy might be an option for the Redlands store.

Mary Ann Campbell, public relations manager for Kohl's, said no plans for a solar conversion are set in stone, though.

Kohl's solar program spans six states: California, Oregon, Wisconsin, Maryland, Connecticut and New Jersey.

"We hope to add states in the coming months," Campbell said.

"To date, we have converted 43 locations to solar power and we have plans to activate approximately 85 additional sites."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Focus on Energy seeks large projects to fund

From a media release issued by Focus on Energy:

Focus on Energy, Wisconsin's energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, is helping businesses statewide become more energy independent by offering large, one time only grants to help finance the installation of innovative renewable energy systems. Eligible businesses must submit grant proposals to Focus on Energy by Oct. 29, 2008. Funds will be awarded on a competitive basis and are meant to support one project in each of the following technologies:

Industrial or Municipal Anaerobic Digesters
Many industries and wastewater treatment facilities are looking for a solution to both organic waste management and a source of on-site energy production. Anaerobic treatment of industrial or municipal wastewater can offset waste treatment costs by collecting and using biogas for energy applications. This grant will fund the installation of a commercially available anaerobic digester system in the $2 to $4 million range. The grant will reward up to 25 percent of the installed project cost, or a maximum of $500,000.

Biomass Combustion
Biomass Combustion can serve as on-site energy production for many industries and commercial facilities. The technology offsets energy costs by burning biomass for energy applications. Biomass combustion systems can help supply space heating, process heating, cooling and electricity. This grant will fund the installation of a commercially available biomass combustion system in the $2 to $4 million range. The grant will reward up to 25 percent of the installed project cost, or a maximum of $500,000.
Solar Water Heating
The sun's energy can be used to heat water for commercial and industrial applications. Businesses interested in implementing solar water heating can use this grant for the installation of one large, commercially-available solar water heating system or a group of systems owned by the same entity and installed simultaneously. This grant will fund the installation of a solar hot water system that offsets more than 10,000 therms per year. The grant will reward up to 25 percent of the installed project cost for tax-paying entities and up to 35 percent for nonprofits, or a maximum of $100,000.

Solar Electric
Solar energy can be converted directly to electricity with photovoltaic (PV) cells. As light strikes the PV cell, it creates an electrical potential that generates a current of electricity. To implement solar electricity, businesses can use this grant for the installation of a large solar electric system or groups of systems that are innovative and very visible. This grant will fund the installation of a PV system that produces more than 50 kilowatts (kW) per year. The grant will reward up to 25 percent of the installed project cost for tax-paying entities and up to 35 percent for nonprofits, or a maximum of $100,000.

Wind Energy
The energy present in wind can be converted into electricity with a wind turbine. Wind passing over the turbine creates a rotary motion that turns an electric generator and creates electricity. This grant will provide financial support for the installation of one commercially available wind energy system that demonstrates a new type of turbine, has a special type of application and/or provides very high visibility and educational value. To be eligible the project must produce 20 kW to 100 kW per year. This grant will reward up to 35 percent of the installed project cost, or a maximum of $100,000.

"These grants offer a one time opportunity for businesses and non-profits to apply for projects that are twice as large as those normally accepted by Focus on Energy. We believe there is an emerging demand for renewable energy systems at this larger level, offering businesses a way to mitigate the effects of fossil-fuel-based energy use, reduce pollution and lessen America's dependence on energy from overseas," said Don Wichert, program director for Focus on Energy's Renewable Energy Program.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hydro project should benefit Black River Falls

From an article by in the Jackson County Chronicle:

The Black River Falls City Council has been assured that the city will see the financial benefits in the long run despite two multimillion-dollar city utility projects that are projected to raise customer utility rates over the next four years.

Most of this financial benefit will come from the installation of the third hydro unit on the Black River, part of the estimated $5 million dam and hydroelectric project, according to Tim Ament, a representative from Wisconsin Public Power Inc. who addressed the council on Aug. 5. The dam is currently operated with two hydro units.

“We will be capitalizing on the potential of the river,” said Jerry Ewert, city utility manager. “The cash turnover will keep going for a long time.”

The council also heard the projected utility rate increases through 2012. The dam and hydroelectric project, coupled with a new $3.5 million utility operations center, will raise the average monthly utility bill from $66.88 to $92.83 by 2012. Ewert said the figure also includes the regular base rate increase all utility companies are subject to.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oconomowoc utility leads by example

From an article by Matthew Inda in The Lake Country Reporter:

City of Oconomowoc - Saving and conserving energy is easier than you might think.

Turning off the water when it’s not in use and recycling are two simple things everyone can do right at home.

But a local effort under the guidance of Oconomowoc Utilities intends to spread even more conservation endeavors across the city just as easily – by following their lead.

Earlier this spring, Oconomowoc Utilities announced it had been granted a pilot program known as Leading by Example, a program to help better educate and demonstrate the effectiveness of energy efficiency, conservation and renewable resources development around the community.

The program was awarded by Wisconsin Public Power Inc. (WPPI) because of Oconomowoc’s strong leadership in these areas.

The initiative has already made some differences.

Helping to implement the program is a conservation committee composed of community leaders and citizens.

“Our major purpose is to educate the community what they can do to conserve energy and water,” said committee member and former Oconomowoc Mayor Floss Whelan.

Spearheaded by Oconomowoc Utilities Operations Manager Dennis Bednarski, the program and its committee also includes Bob Duffy, city director of economic development; Mike Barry, Oconomowoc School District assistant superintendent of business services; Alderman David Nold; and Mike Farrell, chairman and chief executive officer of Sentry Equipment Corp.

“We have a diverse group of community members that can help us give a view of what concerns are here in Oconomowoc,” Bednarski said.

“It’s about local action,” he added.

Already, the group has implemented and nearly completed a light conservation effort at the high school tennis courts, changing the lights to solar power energy.

And coming soon, the group will work with the public library to also make its lighting and lighting costs more effective and efficient.

”We’re starting a project to relight the library with (light-emitting diode) LED fixtures,” Bednarski said.

LED lights are increasingly popular as it uses less energy but operates with as much brightness as a conventional bulb.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Utility calls new Weston 4 efficient, clean

From an article by Brian Reisinger in the Wausau Daily Herald:

Wisconsin Public Service Corp. on Monday [August 18] will formally dedicate the Weston 4 power plant, which the utility considers a new standard in efficiency and environmental standards.

"We're raising the bar for a lot of other companies," Bruce Bruzina, assistant vice president of energy supply operations, told members of the media on a tour of the plant Friday.

The plant, located along Old Highway 51 in the villages of Rothschild and Kronenwetter, cost more than $770 million to build. It first produced electricity in March and went fully online in June. The plant's capabilities could reduce the utility's need to purchase energy, which gives customers more reliable and affordable service in the long run, WPSC officials said.

At full capacity, the plant produces about 530 megawatts per hour for distribution, more than the utility's three other nearby plants combined, Bruzina said. It uses about 6,600 tons of coal a day, just 600 tons more than the other three plants combined.

The plant uses cutting-edge technology to limit emissions and reuse water, Bruzina said.

Environmental advocates, however, remain leery. Rich Wentzel, chairman of the Wisconsin River Country Sierra Club, pointed to gas, wind and solar power as cleaner alternatives. The new WPSC plant, he said, is unnecessary and doesn't employ "bubble jet" technology that could have made it cleaner.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Emission, energy reduction at heart of proposed building code

From an article by Anita Weier in The Capital Times:

The Sierra Club and the U.S. Conference of Mayors are supporting a revision of building codes for new homes that supporters say would boost energy efficiency by 30 percent -- to cut emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce utility bills.

The proposed changes will be considered by the International Code Council in Minneapolis in September, when building inspectors and code officials meet to revise the model building code that many state and local jurisdictions use to develop their own regulations.

The International Energy Conservation Code is updated every three years, and the newest version will be published in 2009.

The "30% Solution" developed by the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition is a package of proposals that the coalition says uses proven, readily available technologies such as efficient lighting, insulation, building air tightness and efficient heating and air conditioning equipment to slash energy use.

"Homes are around for a long time. If the whole state of Wisconsin opts into a revised code, substantial energy could be saved and carbon dioxide emissions reduced, using technology that is already out there," said Shahla Werner, director of the Sierra Club's statewide John Muir Chapter, which is encouraging Wisconsin cities to send delegates to the council meeting.

The Sierra Club contends that by 2030, the 30 percent solution would save $88 billion in energy costs while reducing heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions by 464 million metric tons.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Make-up-air grant deadline extended to Oct. 29

From Focus on Energy:

At the time of the release of our transpired solar demo grant, we were unaware that Conserval Engineering held a patent on the entire transpired technology, which they have coined SolarWall. We never intended to provide benefits to one specific manufacturer.

Therefore, we have decided to open the request up to all solar air heating technologies for make-up air heating.

Because of this change, we have extended the deadline for proposals to October 29, 2008.

One other clarification, as I received some questions: The project MUST include the demonstration component. Please detail this in your proposal.
Grant details here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Win-win at Oak Creek

From an editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

With all of the praise over the settlement reached this week on We Energies’ Oak Creek power plants, one might be tempted to ask, “What’s wrong with this picture?” Turns out, apparently nothing is. The deal allows We Energies and its two utility partners in the Oak Creek project to finish construction in a timely manner, provides needed help for Lake Michigan and expands renewable energy in Wisconsin.

And while the $105 million settlement will be paid for by electric customers ($100 million) and shareholders ($5 million), the price tag will be far less than it could have been under a protracted legal battle over the plant's cooling system. We hope that next time the issues can be settled without going to court, but the utilities involved and the environmental groups who fought the plant deserve credit for reaching a compromise that serves everyone.

The issue settled this week was a dispute over the water intake system that We Energies will deploy to draw 1.8 billion gallons of Lake Michigan water per day for cooling at the new power plant. Environmental groups opposed the intake pipe and were demanding that the utility construct more expensive cooling towers.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

RENEW submits Cassville testimony on available wind & unavailable biomass

From the testmiony submitted by Michael Vickerman on behalf of RENEW Wisconsin:

In my testimony I will survey the windpower prospects under development by independent power producers (IPP’s) in the parts of Wisconsin served by WPL. This information will include an estimate of their annual production (in the aggregate) as well as the current permitting and interconnection status for each prospect. The second half of my testimony outlines RENEW’s concerns with WPL’s proposal to co-fire biomass at Nelson Dewey 3 [proposed Cassville plant] . . . .

There are seven IPP-owned wind prospects under development. All range in generating capacity from 50 MW to 100 MW, totaling 609 MW altogether. . . .

RENEW’s reservations about WPL’s stated plans to co-fire biomass at NED3 flow from the specifics of the proposal. RENEW strongly supports using biomass for space and process heating. RENEW also supports generating electricity from dedicated biomass facilities that are considerably smaller than a new baseload facility.

One reservation we have this proposal is the idea of marrying a low-grade biomass fuel to a very expensive new power station with a capacity cost of about $4,000/kW. There are less expensive avenues for acquiring renewable energy, such as windpower, that have lower capital costs and zero fuel costs. There are also less expensive venues for burning biomass for electricity, such as the soon-to-be-retrofitted E. J. Stoneman plant or Xcel’s Bay Front 3 unit. Unlike building a new 300 MW coal plant, retrofitting those power stations to burn biomass fuel won’t require a capital investment in excess of $1 billion. It is a far more efficient use of ratepayer dollars to wed biomass fuel with smaller power stations (<50 MW) than with a larger and very expensive brand-new power plant. With smaller power plants, it is possible to configure them as dedicated biomass generating units. This is not possible with a 300 MW facility.

RENEW’s second reservation is triggered by the configuration of NED3. WPL’s selection of a circulating fluidized bed combustion boiler creates an opportunity to co-fire biomass energy sources at NED3. WPL’s plans, however, call for the biomass fuel to supplement the coal being fed into the boiler, which could easily be fueled with 100% coal. There is nothing about the boiler design that is dedicated specifically to biomass generation. Coal is the mainstay in this configuration, while biomass is simply an opportunity fuel to be used when available. The possibility of being unable to acquire enough biomass fuel for co-firing will not in any way hinder the operation of NED3, because there will always be enough coal on hand to operate the plant at its full rated capacity. Also, because the biomass portion of the plant’s output can vary, depending on how much biomass fuel is available, there is no possible way to predict how many renewable kilowatt-hours will be produced at the plant. Depending on NED’s variable biomass output to help satisfy in-state renewable energy requirements introduces a level of risk that can be avoided by relying on other renewable generation strategies.

Our third reservation stems from WPL’s need to lock up significant supplies of fuel sources of wood and energy at a lower cost than what the same resources would fetch in other markets, especially the biomass thermal market. As a general proposition, burning biomass in an electricity-only facility is a low-value use for a resource that can deliver substantially more energy to an end-user in the form of space and process heat. If biomass is burned at NED3, two-thirds of the energy value of the fuel, be it wood, agricultural residues, or switchgrass, is discharged into the atmosphere. In contrast, a modern wood-fired heating system serving a forest products company can convert 65% of the energy embedded in the fuelwood to useful heat. The higher the conversion factor of a particular energy application, the greater the energy return, which generally translates into a higher economic return. Thermal market participants are well-positioned to pay top dollar for the fuel they use, because they receive an energy return that is double what the same fuel yields when burned in a biomass electric facility. Because NED3 will, if approved, have a low thermal efficiency, WPL would be at a disadvantage if forced to match the prevailing biomass fuel price set by thermal market participants in order to secure upwards of 300,000 tons of biomass a year. . . .

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wall Street's jitters drove deal on We Energies' Oak Creek plant

From a story by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Fielding calls from folks on Wall Street isn’t in the typical job description for someone working for a conservation group.

Opponents of an Oak Creek power plant reached a deal that will provide money to address environmental issues.

But the calls were about the costliest construction project in state history, the $2.3 billion We Energies power plant being built in Oak Creek.

Jittery stock analysts visited with representatives of Clean Wisconsin in Madison this spring, wanting to know whether its eight-year dispute over the building of a coal-fired generating plant could be resolved.

Those jitters were restraining the company’s stock price and were a key driver behind the settlement reached between We Energies and environmental groups. A deal was reached just hours before utility executives were scheduled to field questions from analysts about the plant’s status.

The settlement ended the last piece of litigation, which was being fought over the power plant’s cooling system. It not only removed hurdles to the plant’s opening, it also meant costly cooling towers wouldn’t have to be built.

Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club, in turn, won utility company commitments on a couple of high-profile environmental issues — the Great Lakes and global warming.

Although the deal was in the works for six months, it didn’t get done until utility executives faced their quarterly conference call with investors.

“They were clear they wanted to settle this thing before that analyst call,” said Katie Nekola, energy program director at Clean Wisconsin.

“We wanted to communicate that certainty could be accomplished. That is very true,” said Barry McNulty, We Energies spokesman.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

WPPI announces grant recipients for energy efficiency bidding

From a media release issued by WPPI:

WPPI recently awarded $185,000 in grants for energy efficiency projects to various business and municipal customers served by WPPI member utilities.

WPPI’s RFP for Energy Efficiency is aimed at making electric energy saving projects a worthwhile business investment for large power customers. Large commercial and industrial customers of WPPI’s member communities are invited to submit competitive proposals for cost-effective, energy saving upgrades to equipment and systems within their current facilities.

Grant incentives were awarded to four companies in the fourth round of RFP for Energy Efficiency bidding:

* Community Memorial Hospital, a customer of Oconto Falls Municipal Utilities, was awarded $35,000 for an energy-saving upgrade to the central chiller plant to provide air conditioning and dehumidification to the hospital’s Primary Care Clinic.

* Village of Little Chute, a customer of Kaukauna Utilities, will receive $50,960 to offset the costs of upgrading the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system on one of its wells and to install variable speed drives on two other wells. A SCADA system collects data from various sensors at a factory or plant and sends the data to a central computer which manages and controls the data. Adding a variable speed drive to a motor-driven system can offer energy savings in a system in which the loads vary during use.

* Madison-Kipp Corporation, a customer of Sun Prairie Water & Light, will receive $72,000 to replace two existing air compressors with a new high efficiency variable speed drive air compressor to regulate air pressure with reduced cost.

* Johnsonville Sausage, a customer of Plymouth Utilities, was awarded $27,000 to replace two bi-parting freezer doors with two air conditioned air curtain systems. The new air curtain system will create a vestibule to condition the air. These systems save energy, reduce moisture and help maintain the temperature of high usage freezer doorways. . . .
WPPI anticipates awarding up to $500,000 in additional RFP for Energy Efficiency grants this year, with $250,000 in funding available for each bidding cycle. The most recent round of bidding was completed in July, and incentive grants will be awarded in August. A subsequent round of bidding will close on Nov. 7, with awards granted in December.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Oak Creek plant settlement includes renewable energy commitment

From a story posted on the Web site of The Business Journal of Milwaukee:

The three owners of the Elm Road Generating Station in Oak Creek will pay $105 million over a 25-year period for Lake Michigan protection projects to end a three- year legal battle over the water intake structure at the power plant, Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club said Wednesday.

Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club filed suit after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a permit allowing the use of a once-through cooling system at the coal-fired power plant. The organizations claimed that once-through cooling did not represent the best available technology for cooling the plant and thus should not be permitted.

Under the settlement, the three utilities that own the generating station -- We Energies of Milwaukee, Madison Gas & Electric of Madison and Wisconsin Public Power Inc. of Sun Prairie -- agreed to the following:

- Funding $4 million per year from 2010 through 2035 for projects to address water quality issues in Lake Michigan such as invasive species, polluted runoff, toxic loadings, and habitat destruction;

- Purchase or construct 15 megawatts of solar generation by Jan. 1, 2015; and

- Support legislative efforts to establish a renewable energy portfolio standard of 10 percent by 2013 and 25 percent by 2025.

We Energies will also retire two coal-fired units in Presque Isle, Michigan and ask the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for approval to construct 50 megawatts of 100 percent biomass-fueled power in Wisconsin.
In a media release, Mark Redsten, Exeuctive Director, of Clean Wisconsin said:

"We're happy to have reached an agreement that has significant benefits for both the lake and the fight against global warming. These environmental protections help ensure Lake Michigan is a healthy natural resource for generations to come."
From a separate release issed by the Sierra Club:

“In the long run, this agreement will result in dramatic improvements to the overall health of Lake Michigan and will contribute to the development of renewable energy sources such as solar and biomass,” said Jennifer Feyerherm, Wisconsin Clean Energy Campaign Director.

“It will help us address two of the most critical issues of our time—climate change and protection of one of the world’s greatest freshwater natural resources.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rapids mill recognized for energy reduction

An article from the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune:

NewPage’s converting facility in Wisconsin Rapids has received national recognition for its new high-efficiency, high intensity fluorescent lighting system, the company announced today.

Orion Energy Systems awarded the Miamisburg, Ohio-based papermaker with its Environmental Stewardship Award — an annual recognition presented to companies that achieve significant environmental benefits through the use of their products and systems.

The result of collaboration between the two companies, the new system will reduced energy usage by almost 2.3 million kilowatt-hours a year; the average household uses about 10,000 kilowatt-hours a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

NewPage officials said the change will not only help the company become more energy efficient and cost effective but also contribute to a better work environment, calling the change a “win-win-win situation.”

Monday, August 4, 2008

UW-Stout is No. 1 in energy efficiency in UW System

From a media release issued by the UW-Stout:

According to the “Energy Use in State-Owned Facilities” report released annually through Wisconsin’s Department of Administration, the University of Wisconsin-Stout is the most energy efficient campus of all 13 four-year campuses in the UW System. The energy consumption of all UW campuses is monitored through monthly utility bills and fuel consumption reports and converted to units of energy, or BTUs, per square foot, per year. This calculation makes campuses of different sizes comparable.

In the last released report, UW-Stout was 30 percent more efficient than the UW system average and 12 percent more efficient than the runner up, UW-River Falls. UW-Stout has been the leader in energy efficiency for more than the past decade.

These statistics may surprise some who are looking for headline grabbing energy projects. However, like the three R’s in waste minimization (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), a sustainable energy regime begins with using less.

There is something far from glamorous behind UW-Stout’s energy efficient status—an extraordinary commitment to maintenance and incremental energy reduction measures.

For instance, each year the university’s chiller condenser and evaporator tubes are cleaned and all exterior door weather stripping is checked annually and replaced if necessary. These measures, and much more, are basic maintenance standards for all institutions, but whether or not they are followed to a “T” depends on leadership and commitment by facilities management.

UW-Stout’s Director of Physical Plant Ted Hendzel attributes much of the energy conservation results to the maintenance workers responsible for fine tuning and operating the equipment and facilities.