Focus on Energy: Wisconsin Foundry implements innovative energy-efficient technology


Mark Treichel

Hoffman York


[email protected]

Thanks to technical and financial assistance from Focus on Energy

MADISON, Wis. (April 29, 2011) — With the help of Focus on Energy, Wisconsin utilities’ statewide program for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and in partnership with We Energies, Neenah Foundry has implemented an energy-efficient emerging technology into practice that shows promise for any facility that operates cabinet coolers. Neenah Foundry, of Neenah, Wis., cut energy costs on 68 cabinet coolers by more than 50 percent—this adds up to energy savings of more than $141,000 annually.

Cabinet coolers keep critical electronic circuitry in challenging industrial environments clean, cool, and dry. Traditionally, cabinet coolers use a lot of compressed air which translates into high energy use. After exploring various options to reduce the energy use of cabinet coolers at Neenah Foundry, studies showed that retrofitting the cabinet coolers with thermostat controls and an integrated purge function would be the most cost-effective energy-saving option.

Neenah Foundry retrofitted 68 vortex cabinet coolers which now use a small amount of purge air to maintain positive pressure within the cabinets at all times. They only use full air flow when the thermostat calls for cooling. The electronic thermostat operates just like a standard programmable thermostat, activating only when the temperature inside the cabinet rises to a certain level which prevents the cabinet coolers from needlessly running at full flow.

“Focus found an innovative energy-saving solution,” said Keith Rushford, electrical engineer at Neenah Foundry. “Financial incentives and technical assistance from Focus allowed us to initially move forward with this project which paid for itself very quickly. During the initial study we installed and analyzed 38 units. At that point, we realized the high savings potential and we were able to invest in 30 more cabinet cooler retrofits on our own.”

“By implementing this innovative emerging technology into practice, Neenah Foundry met its goal to reduce energy costs without compromising on safety or equipment maintenance practices,” said Ken Williams, Focus on Energy’s business programs director. “Neenah Foundry continues to investigate new technologies and find more ways to save energy—this is a positive example for other businesses to follow.”

Since 2001, Focus on Energy has delivered cost-effective energy solutions to Wisconsin residents and businesses. Focus can help businesses identify and evaluate energy saving opportunities, develop energy management plans, and arrange technical training opportunities about energy conservation to help improve bottom lines and lower operating cost. For more information about Focus on Energy, call 800.762.7077 or visit

About Neenah Foundry

Neenah Foundry is located in Neenah, Wis. and was founded in 1872. It produces metal castings such as complex machine parts and municipal castings (e.g., grates, manhole covers, and tree grates along city sidewalks). For more information, visit

About Focus on Energy

Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus information, resources, and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed, or to complete projects sooner than scheduled. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment, and control the state’s growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information, call 800.762.7077 or visit