Focus on Energy awards UW-Stout Statewide Honor

Focus on Energy awards UW-Stout Statewide Honor
UW-Stout was awarded an award from Focus on Energy and Xcel Energy

ABOVE PHOTO: Campus Planner Michael Higgins, Sustainability Manager Kadi Wright, Xcel Energy’s Mike Plunkett and David Voss, Senior Facilities Officer Justin Utpadel, Chancellor Katherine Frank, State Rep. Clint Moses, Facilities Management Associate Director Zenon Smolarek and Engineering Specialist Josh Kohnke.

For its collaboration and commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency in multiple campuswide initiatives in the last two decades, University of Wisconsin-Stout has received an Energy Efficiency Excellence Award from Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program.

UW-Stout, the only university among 10 Wisconsin businesses and government entities awarded this year, was nominated by Xcel Energy, which partners in the award with other state utilities.

Since 2007, UW-Stout’s partnerships with Focus on Energy, Xcel Energy and the City of Menomonie has fostered a multifaceted approach to facilitate energy savings projects, which provided the university access to state and federal program funds. UW-Stout participates in Xcel Energy’s Partners in Energy Program.

An award ceremony was held on June 26 at UW-Stout’s Memorial Student Center. Chancellor Katherine Frank and Senior Facilities Officer Justin Utpadel accepted the award, presented by Focus on Energy Business Portfolio Manager Mike Plunkett.

“Thank you to Focus on Energy for this recognition and to all who have supported these projects. It truly is an honor,” Frank said. “As Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, UW-Stout has a unique opportunity to do more than simply implement energy efficiency projects within our facilities.

“Everything we do must be applied, and everything we do must positively impact our students. We use these improvements to educate our students and impact future generations by providing applied learning opportunities, utilizing real-world infrastructure and building systems that prepare our graduates for their careers. By doing so, Stout will continue to fulfill its commitment to addressing the workforce development needs of the future.”

Utpadel appreciates the recognition. “This award isn’t just a recognition of one person’s work or one stand-alone project but a demonstration of a shared, ongoing commitment to sustainability projects and initiatives from multiple people, committees and organizations.

“Through these projects, we have been able to install new renewable energy systems, but more importantly, we have been able to reduce the amount of energy we consume to begin with, resulting in a reduction of energy demand for our university facilities.”

View the award presentation.

Also attending were UW-Stout’s Sustainability Manager Kadi Wright, Facilities Management Associate Director Zenon Smolarek, Trades Supervisor Matt Herum, Engineering Specialist Josh Kohnke and Campus Planner Michael Higgins.

Focus on Energy attendees were Energy Adviser David Voss, Portfolio Program Operations Director Erin Soman and Marketing and Outreach Specialist Casey Davidson, as well as Xcel Energy Energy Adviser Michael Yates and State Rep. Clint Moses of Menomonie, a UW-Stout alum who noted the university’s importance to Wisconsin and the quality of its graduates entering the state’s workforce.

The award is UW-Stout’s second major sustainability recognition this year. It was named a national Green Ribbon school this past spring by the U.S. Department of Education.


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