Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings, Better Plants partner Waupaca Foundry, Inc. for energy efficiency advances made in its Waupaca, Wisconsin facilities. DOE staff toured Waupaca’s Plant 1 to see firsthand examples of the efficiency innovations made throughout its portfolio.

As the world’s largest iron foundry, Waupaca melts up to 9,500 tons of iron per day. The company committed six facilities across the U.S. as an inaugural Better Plants partner and has reduced energy intensity by more than 20% to date. Since joining Better Plants, Waupaca's commitment has expanded to include decarbonization through participation in DOE's Low Carbon Pilot and Better Climate Challenge.

Waupaca received a 2022 Better Plants Better Project Award for upgrading and optimizing the compressed air system at Plant 1, increasing the system’s energy efficiency by 13.5% and reducing annual energy usage by 18,000 MMBtu and annual water usage by 13 million gallons.

At Plant 2/3, the company upgraded and expanded the waste heat recovery system by installing a new control system, upgrading piping, adding three new air units, incorporating new controls and heat recovery technologies, and commissioning the new system and additional air units to ensure all operational requirements were met. The improvements increased the amount of waste heat recovered at Plant 2/3 by 42% and informed Waupaca’s implementation of waste heat recovery upgrades at Plant 1.

The combined savings at Plants 1 and 2/3 reduced Waupaca’s natural gas usage by 1,200,000 therms per year, equivalent to $540,000 in annual savings and an annual reduction of 72,000 tons of CO2. Waupaca shared its process and results in a Better Plants Showcase Project so that other organizations may learn from its success.

Better Plants is part of the Better Buildings Initiative, through which DOE partners with public and private sector organizations to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings more efficient, thereby saving energy and money while creating jobs. To date, more than 900 Better Buildings partners have shared their innovative approaches and strategies for adopting energy efficient technologies. Discover more than 3,000 of these solutions in the Better Buildings Solution Center.