Tom-Bierstaker-236_0Sussex printing company Color Ink’s sustainability investments are having a direct effect on its bottom line, creating an incentive for manufacturers to go green.

The drive toward improved cost savings began in May, when Color Ink management met with a team of specialists from the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The WMEP, led by Manufacturing Specialist Tom Bierstaker, conducted an initial Profitable Sustainability Initiative (PSI) diagnostic at that point, which identified two key projects to reduce energy costs – a lighting upgrade for the plant and an increase in compressor efficiency through detecting and repairing leaks.

PSI is an innovative, three-step approach that helps small and mid-size manufacturers focus on improvements in their entire operations that will result in the greatest return on investment while having a positive environmental impact.

Established in 2010 and funded by a state grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and a federal grant awarded by the Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the program has successfully established Wisconsin as a leader in sustainable manufacturing.

Color Ink, which has more than 120 employees and more than 100,000 square feet of production space, invested $47,000 in changes to its lighting in the plant. A lighting contractor is projecting annual savings of more than $30,000, which results in a payback period of just 1.3 years.

Color Ink also received additional incentives totaling $6,200 from Focus on Energy, a PSI project partner that works with Wisconsin manufacturers to implement cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

The company also invested $1,500 in a compressor leak detection and correction initiative, resulting in annual savings of more than $7,700. This creates a payback period of a mere two months.

WMEP’s PSI program covered the cost of the initial diagnostic and also provided $8,500 to reimburse Color Ink for 20 percent of the cost associated with the implementation phase of the project.