Partnerships at work:
Technology Implementation

The following case studies detail the to ways that we have worked with Wisconsin companies to implement energy-efficient technology and create energy savings in Wisconsin.

Renewable Fuels: Muscoda Protein Products

Muscoda Protein Products (MPP), located in an area of Wisconsin with abundant sawmills, had been talking with Focus on Energy advisors for years about replacing its natural-gas fired boiler with a wood-fired one. The project would enable MPP to reduce its natural gas purchases by approximately 600,000 therms each year (enough to heat 650 homes) and significantly reduce MPP's expenses, but it remained stalled, largely over financing.

The Focus renewables team asked CleanTech Partners for assistance, after it was learned that the local bank did not have enough energy project finance experience to take on the project. Our offer to provide $350,000 in subordinated debt eased their concerns and they provided the balance of the funding.

In addition, CTP identified a USDA renewable energy grant and wrote MPP's application for $420,000, which was awarded. The Focus on Energy Program also provided a $35,000 grant to help with the project.

Spray Booth Ventilation: Showcase Kitchens, Inc.
When Showcase Kitchens, a Green Bay manufacturer of residential cabinets and countertops, wanted to upgrade the spray booths in its new factory with energy-efficient models, CleanTech Partners financed a five-year loan for $41,000. Working with one of its vendors and a consultant from Wisconsin's Focus on Energy program, Showcase identified a technology for its finishing processes that enables greater control of ventilation and results in improved finish quality and significant energy savings (about 37,000 kWh and 14,000 therms per year).

Implementation of this "best practice" technology required financing which was not readily available from the company's commercial bank, so CTP worked with Focus on Energy to provide the loan. The energy savings Showcase Kitchens realized as a result of this innovative technology made the project cash-flow positive almost immediately.

Showcase Kitchens was founded in 1977. The owners built a new factory and offices in 2000.

Hospitality power: WISCO Hotel Group
CleanTech Partners provided the WISCO Hotel Group with a five-year $130,000 lease to install "Guest Room Energy Management" (GREM) technology in guest rooms. The GREM system, provided by DBS Lodging Technologies Inc., senses when a room is occupied, turns down the lighting and heating/AC when it is empty and operates at full power when it is occupied. Systems were installed at Comfort Suites hotels in Appleton and Oak Creek as well as Holiday Inn Express hotels in Milwaukee and Oshkosh.

Installation of this "best practices" technology required financing that was not readily available from WISCO's financial institutions, so CTP worked with Focus on Energy to finance the equipment lease, enabling four WISCO hotels to significantly reduce their energy costs. The project was immediately cash-flow positive. Estimated savings are in excess of 4,600 therms and 700,000 kWh per year.

The WISCO Hotel Group is a privately owned operator of nine hotels in the state of Wisconsin.

Foundry Efficiencies: Madison-Kipp Corporation
Melting costs can make or break a metal foundry. The process not only consumes enormous amounts of energy, its level of efficiency is critical to the control of quality, composition, and the physical and chemical properties of the final product. Stack melter furnaces, which use flue gases to preheat the charge materials, can significantly improve energy efficiency in melting and producing castings. By installing stack melter furnaces, a foundry can reduce its operating costs, through both energy savings and reduction of metal losses.

CleanTech Partners worked with Focus on Energy to facilitate the installation of an aluminum stack melter furnace that is saving the Madison-Kipp Corporation (MKC) approximately $165,000 per year. The project had been stalled due to lack of financing, but CTP's participation revived it. We worked with the technology supplier (Modern Equipment) to determine the viability and applicability of the technology, and CTP funds financed all the purchase and installation costs not covered by a separate Focus on Energy grant.

Located in Madison, Wisconsin, the Madison-Kipp Corporation produces precision-machined cast components and subassemblies for transportation and industrial end markets.

Paper Mill Restoration: Flambeau River Papers LLC
When Smart Papers filed for bankruptcy and put its mill in Park Falls, WI, up for sale, CleanTech Partners worked with a wide range of local, state and federal officials to rescue the mill, whose closing would have devastated the local economy. CTP offered potential purchasers up to $350,000 in financing for energy-saving projects. The new owner, Flambeau River Papers LLC , used this line of credit to finance five projects that include:

  • Raw water tank heat recovery
  • Machine #3 flash steam recovery
  • Identification and repair of compressed air leaks
  • Identification and repair of failed steam traps
  • Wastewater treatment blower control

Flambeau River Papers purchases 140,000 cords of wood harvested under sustainable forestry practices annually, and is capable of producing more than 140,000 tons per year of uncoated fine papers for the printing market. Reopening the mill meant the restoration of 300 jobs lost in the Smart Papers bankruptcy. It also meant that some 300 small logging businesses would remain viable in the region and that prices in Wisconsin's logging industry would be stabilized.

The mill was originally built in 1896. Flambeau River Papers LLC purchased the pulp and paper mill in August 2006. In addition to the energy efficiency projects identified above, CTP recently assisted Flambeau River Papers with the installation of a bio-mass gasifier that provides renewable energy to the mill.