From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

More companies are looking to reduce their energy and water utility bills by taking steps to make their processes more efficient.

It’s all about adapting the quality-improvement techniques that many companies are already using, said Joseph Jacobsen, associate dean at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

What’s making people turn to green? Businesses know that carbon regulations are coming and want to get ready, and they are realizing that saving energy and water helps save – or stem the rise – in utility bills.

“Green is not just environmental sustainability. Green is business sustainability too,” said Jon Dommissee, director of new product development and marketing at Bradley Corp.

Jacobsen and Dommissee spoke during a Green Manufacturing Summit held Thursday at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Bayside. Bradley, a local maker of plumbing fixtures, and the state Focus on Energy sponsored the event, along with the Journal Sentinel.

Despite the slowing economy, companies continue to seek grants from Focus on Energy to help them pay for energy-saving projects, said Nate Altfeather of Focus.

Focus provides grants that help shorten the payback time on projects that boost energy efficiency. With companies holding the line on spending, the types of incentives sought from Focus may shift.

“We’re going to see a lot more interest in low and no-cost maintenance incentives,” Altfeather said. “People aren’t going to be able to cut checks for $100,000 for new equipment.”

Focus is developing new incentives designed to help companies with energy-saving upgrades that have a payback of one year or less. The Focus program, funded through charges on utility bills, will pay nearly 100% of an energy audit for those firms, Altfeather said.