Focus on Energy!

Energy incentives allow Newton company to stay green, efficient and save money

Mechanical Research and Design had maximized the space they had at South 26th Street in Manitowoc. They knew it was time to expand and turned to their building partner, A.C.E. Building Service, for construction expertise. But what started as a general building renovation project soon took on an additional focus – energy – that would provide Mechanical Research with cost efficiencies and significant savings.

It began with a conversation between company owner Charles Stecker and Stan Johnson, A.C.E. president, on the scope of the Mechanical Research project. As talks progressed, Stan suggested to Charles that upgrading the building energy systems may make sense and asked if he wanted to pursue it further. State and federal incentives were available and both looked likely for this project.

“I liked the idea of having a green building and also the potential cost savings, so I gave Stan the green light to keep investigating it,” recalls Charles.

First A.C.E. coordinated evaluations of the building Mechanical Research had purchased (the former Stecker Machine facility in Newton). Jeff Thurow, energy consultant from Focus on Energy, did a high-level assessment that showed many possible energy reduction opportunities. Brian Schwaller, Ecomanity, did a solar energy assessment of the property that also showed much promise.

Additionally, using the e-Quest energy model, they did an evaluation to see if it would be possible to achieve the $1.80/squarefoot federal income tax deduction for reducing total building
energy by 50%. They determined that the 50% reduction was not possible, but that they were able to achieve the 16 2/3% lighting power use reduction and achieve a $0.60/square-foot deduction, or a total of $21,600. It was a significant incentive to continue the energy reduction efforts, and Charles gave the green light to proceed.

Before the solar electric PV (photovoltaic) panels could be installed by Energize LLC, A.C.E. had to replace 6,000 square feet of worn-out existing steel roofing, which couldn’t support solar panels. They added insulation, installed a Butler MR24 roof system and then installed the PV panels on the roof. The 3,000-square-foot system is expected to provide about 20% of the company’s annual electrical usage and allow them to sell back to the grid on weekends.

A.C.E. also incorporated other energy features into the building project that would not only help Mechanical Research and Design save on their energy costs, but also offered cash rebates
or grants. This included occupancy light sensors, a high efficiency boiler and hot water heater, loading dock seal and high efficiency fluorescent lighting.

All totaled they achieved $57,675 in energy incentives … this included a $25,000 multi-project bonus grant from WPS for incorporating five different energy-efficient projects – one of only
two projects to ever achieve this in the state of Wisconsin.

Additionally, work is underway to install the lighting power reductions and new lighting controls in the entire plant required to achieve a federal income deduction of $21,780. This work
will be done in early 2011.

“I wanted to make a long-term investment in this building and our company, and it just made sense to incorporate as many energy efficiencies as possible, for our current and future return
on investment,” says Charles. “This is a family business and someday I will be turning it over to my children. Now I can feel comfortable knowing they will have a well-constructed, energy
efficient facility for the long haul.”

Adds Stan: “Mechanical Research and Design put their trust in A.C.E. and we were able to come through for them. We researched, identified and implemented an energy program that not only helped create a more efficient system, but one that was installed affordably, thanks to WPS and Focus on Energy incentives, and provided cost savings now and into the future.”

He adds that this is a huge benefit A.C.E. brings to the table for other customers as well. “We understand the technology and energy incentives out there. We are able to work for customers to pull it all together, right from the start, to help them operate more on a more energy-efficient level AND save money – it’s win/win!”

Summary of energy incentives achieved

Description and Amount Received:
Renewable Energy Site Assessment   $100
Occupancy sensors – Office   $150
HVAC – Crane building boiler   $200
Hot water heater – Office   $50
Loading dock seal   $100
High bay fluorescents and occupancy sensors   $3,725*
Crane addition – fluorescent lighting   $800
Multi-project bonus   $25,000
Solar panels (PV) incentive   $27,450
Lighting power reduction and controls   $21,780 (pending)
Plus a 30% federal tax credit for the cost of installing the solar panels

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