Waupaca Foundry Backs Up Its Competitiveness with Energy Efficiency
Waupaca, WI – What began modestly along the shores of the Waupaca River in 1871 has grown to become North America's leading supplier of iron castings, employing approximately 4,500 people and operating seven iron foundries across several states.
Waupaca Foundry has grown from a regional business to the world’s largest iron foundry, a global supplier of products for the agriculture, construction, transportation, and industrial sectors. The company has maintained its competitive edge over the years by committing to relentless improvement throughout its operations and forward-thinking sustainability initiatives.
The Waupaca, Wisconsin-based business is a national leader in energy management, which makes sense when one considers the amount of power the company needs to operate. Waupaca Foundry President, COO and CEO, Michael Nikolai, says annual energy costs are around $180 million across all Waupaca Foundry locations.
"We are setting the pace in our industry by committing to continuous improvement in environmental sustainability by reducing our energy use," Nikolai said. "Our efforts not only reduce our impact on the environment but make us a more competitive iron castings supplier in the global marketplace."
In 2016, Waupaca Foundry achieved certification to the prestigious ISO 50001 International Standard for Energy Management Systems, becoming the only U.S.-based foundry to reach the status and just the second Wisconsin facility in any industry.
In 2017, this commitment to energy efficiency placed Waupaca Foundry among the 15 elite recipients of an “Energy Efficiency Excellence Award” from FOCUS ON ENERGY®, an energy efficiency and renewable resources program funded by 107 utilities across Wisconsin.
With support and guidance from Focus on Energy and its utility, Wisconsin Public Service, Waupaca Foundry completed a series of equipment upgrades that saved more than 4.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity and 250,000 therms of natural gas.
"By continually improving our environmental sustainability, we are not only reducing our impact on the environment – we’re remaining competitive in a global marketplace," said Bryant Esch, environmental coordinator for Waupaca Foundry.
Focus on Energy experts helped identify projects at the gray iron foundry that were designed to conserve energy plant-wide. Some of the more significant initiatives included:
- Converting to LED lighting throughout manufacturing, office, and employee areas, with more than 800 energy-efficient LED fixtures installed within the past two years.
- Replacing outdated compressors with new, more efficient models. At the same time, ductwork and additional equipment were installed to capture the waste heat and use it to heat buildings during the colder months.
- Expanding and networking electric and natural gas metering to a new energy management system. To measure the effectiveness of projects and programs, the system allows for monitoring of real-time energy use at departmental levels and archives historic data to allow analysis and comparison of current versus past data.
Ongoing energy conservation initiatives are part of Waupaca Foundry's vision for sustainability. By 2020, the company goal is to:
- Reduce energy intensity by 25 percent.
- Promote state-of-the-art pollution control technologies.
- Reduce spent foundry sand generation by 30 percent and to reuse/recycle spent sand used in the metal casting process to achieve zero landfill disposal.
- Reduce water consumption by 80 percent.
All ratepayers of the 107 utilities that participate in the Focus on Energy program are eligible for the energy expertise and financial incentives the program offers to businesses, homeowners, farms, schools and local governments. The most recent independent evaluation found 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 www.focusonenergy.com.