Wisconsin Distributor Sees Early Impact of Investment in Energy Efficiency
Menomonie, Wis. – Bill’s Distributing made a decision last year that will ensure the company saves thousands of dollars for years to come and make lasting changes to benefit Wisconsin. The longtime beverage distributor chose to replace its aging, inefficient lights with LED lighting.
“We quickly brought in [Energy Advisor] Bill Lobner from FOCUS ON ENERGY® and [Mid Market Account Representative]Tim Bartels from Xcel Energy to assist with evaluating lighting options and finding the most cost-effective solution,” said Business Manager Josh Eager.
Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable resources program, partners with 107 utilities across the state to offer energy expertise and financial incentives to residents and businesses that choose to reduce energy waste.
After consulting with Lobner and Bartels, Bill’s Distributing upgraded 176 lights in its warehouse, as well as its exterior lighting.
“Overall, this was a great collaboration between all the entities involved,” said Lobner, noting Energy Bank manufactured the lights, which were distributed by M-Times2 and installed by Bear Valley Electric.
Focus on Energy provided financial incentives of $11,265 to offset the initial cost of the projects and Xcel Energy added $4,000 in incentives on top of that.
“Bills Distributing was very engaged with Xcel Energy and Focus on Energy from the beginning. Their leadership group asked great questions about efficiency options to ensure that the solution fit the business need,” Bartels said. “Another key component was that the new systems needed to be adaptable to the upcoming building expansion. They chose a unique, high-tech lighting solution that was very forward thinking to meet these targets. You could tell their commitment to energy efficiency was paramount in the decision-making process.”
“Focus on Energy’s rebate along with Xcel Energy’s bonus rebate made the decision a lot easier to select the best lighting with the best payback,” Eager explained, adding that the company saw 10% savings on its total electric bill in the first full month with the new lighting. “For any businesses out there still using Fluorescent lighting, I highly recommend they reach out to Focus on Energy or [their utility] ASAP to evaluate their energy saving options.”
Eager said Bill’s Distributing has since been recognized by Anheuser-Busch Inbev as one of eight national winners of its 2019 Brightest Idea energy savings competition.
Bill’s Distributing is saving more than 180,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually. That’s enough to meet the electricity needs of 21 homes for a full year. Lobner says he is also working with the company on a separate custom refrigeration project that will save an additional 160,000 kWh a year.
“Helping our customers reduce their energy loads through conservation programs yields savings and benefits to all our customers by helping to keep rates low, and it gets us closer to our vision of carbon free electricity by 2050,” Bartels said.
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. The same evaluation found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy generates $5 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced energy costs and reduced pollution.