Mar 29 2012 Justifying Energy Efficiency as a Business Investment

This morning the Iowa Economic Development Authority sponsored a webinar titled “Justifying Energy Efficiency as a Business Improvement.” The 2 hr. webinar was produced by Partnership for Industrial Efficiency (PIE2) and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Read below to find out more about the purpose of the webinar. The following is reposted from Iowa State University:

Justifying Energy Efficiency as a Business Investment

Industrial reaction to energy efficiency is slow and uneven. Poor communications are partly to blame: the dialogue is usually more technical than financial. While necessary, a technical dialogue is often insufficient for convincing businesses to adopt efficiency upgrades. Clear, investor-focused messages are needed to engage industry’s financial decision-makers.

Drawing from a decade of North American program experience documented in books and trade press articles, Energy Pathfinder Management Consulting’s (EPMC) principal consultant Christopher Russell shares an enthusiastic and innovative approach to energy cost control. When he speaks on this topic, he emphasizes a business-smart approach that “monetizes” energy projects-clarifying the investment performance of energy choices. His communications are geared for managers with budget and leadership responsibility in managing their facility-wide energy performance.


All businesses, regardless of industry, have one thing in common. They manage assets that convert inputs into cash flow and wealth. Energy is the life-blood of these assets. Unless the energy is free, it is an opportunity to maximize the creation of business wealth. As always, the bottom line is money, so the challenge is to express energy and its impacts in monetary terms. Energy must be thought of in terms of its business impacts: it is a cost as well as an investment. As an investment, it has direct, measureable impacts on cash flow, capital recovery, and volatility of earnings. This is a radical change in philosophy for industrial managers. That’s why PIE2 presents this seminar: to demonstrate the rich connections between energy choices and business performance. The seminar describes the analytical tools for creating a strong business case for smart industrial energy choices. The emphasis is on economic and financial analysis-principles are reviewed in the seminar from the ground up and in an energy-smart context.Purpose and Target Audience

This workshop introduces “monetization” as the strategy for converting energy choices into dollars. Monetization allows managers to become champions for energy-smart business solutions. Energy “projects” suddenly become investments that provide cash flow, boost capital recovery on assets, and subsidize operations. By quantifying the money profile of energy improvement opportunities, facility managers can more effectively demonstrate their value to the rest of their organization.

There is a better alternative to your facilities “doing more with less.” This seminar is intended for business leaders that wish to maximize the value of the resources at their disposal. It is also for facility managers interested in more than hands-on technical issues-they want contribute to business performance, thereby sustaining their own professional viability.

Goals of the webinar:

  • Energy, Money, and Business. A back-to-basics overview of energy’s relationship to business performance. Understand why energy is more than “a cost of doing business.” Any discussion of energy improvements can and should respond directly to fundamental business goals such as capital recovery, cash flow, and return on investment. Understand the difference between economic and financial analyses and the applications of each.
  • Monetizing Energy Choices. Energy metrics are one thing, investment metrics are another. This section goes where the academic finance courses don’t go – linking energy performance to investment results. We always need to show costs, savings, and paybacks. But we should also show the cost of doing nothing, the price to save versus the price to buy energy, and the alternative price tag associated with rejected solutions. This presentation shows how to make a compelling business case for an investment-minded audience.

Mar 22 2012 AmericInn Fairfield Opens Today

After three years of development, local investors and the Apollo  Development LLC are excited to open the doors to the $5.4 million development project that is AmericInn Fairfield. David Harchanko, of Apollo Development LLC, stated “We are very pleased to be able to see our idea for a new hotel in Fairfield become a reality and with a strong partner in AmericInn we believe that it will be a great addition to Fairfield. I would like to thank the City of Fairfield and the Fairfield Economic Development Association for their assistance.”

AmericInn is conveniently located at the intersection of Highways 1 and 34 in Fairfield close to the Jefferson County Medical Center and only minutes from Fairfield and Southeast Iowa attractions.

They offer beautifully appointed guestrooms featuring cozy Serta Perfect Sleeper® beds, new 32″ LCD Flat Screen TVs and a variety of room types, including whirlpool suites. AmericInn Fairfield is the newest property in the area to feature upscale bedding, including triple sheeting for guests comfort and cleanliness.

They also offer a hot home-style AmericInn Perk breakfast and free, hotel-wide, high-speed Internet. Guests can enjoy the inviting, indoor pool, hot tub and cozy firelit lobby. And after a long day unwind at the Beer and Wine bar.


This AmericInn is a new prototype featuring a contemporary design.  The three-story hotel features an open lobby that encompasses a beverage bar and breakfast dining area. Other amenities include a business center and meeting room. The AmericInn Fairfield is constructed with special energy conservation features including motion-monitoring energy management systems in all guestrooms, high efficiency windows, energy efficient construction and interior placement of the swimming pool to retain heat.

Property Features

  • 100% Non-Smoking Facility
  • Two room Suites
  • Whirlpool Suites Available
  • Business Center
  • Free Hotel-Wide, High-Speed Internet Access
  • Handicap accessible guest rooms
  • Children Age 17 and Under Stay Free with Adult
  • Complimentary Weekday USA Today Newspaper
  • Cribs Available (charge may apply)
  • Elevator
  • Guest Laundry Facilities
  • Guest Reception
  • Indoor Heated Pool and Hot Tub
  • Large Vehicle Parking (Buses, Trailers, etc.)
  • Meeting Room
  • Roll-Away Beds for Rent


# of Rooms: 63
# of one-room Suites: 3
# of two-room Suites: 4

Meeting Rooms

Total square feet of meeting space: 435

To book a stay, visit AmericInn’s website.


Mar 15 2012 Iowa unemployment down to 5.4%, with manufacturers adding 3,500 jobs

Re-posted from the Des Moines Register article by Danelle Eller

Iowa manufacturers added 3,500 jobs in January, a powerful start to a year that began with a total of 3,700 more jobs than in December.

Clipper Wind manufacturing

Photo: Clipper Wind manufacturing,

Iowa’s unemployment rate shrank to 5.4 percent in January, down from 5.6 percent in December and 6.1 percent in January 2011. The U.S. unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in January, down from 8.5 percent in December and 9.1 percent a year earlier.

The state has added 9,200 jobs over a year earlier, with manufacturing again leading those gains with 11,800 jobs. Government and professional and business services posted the largest losses compared to January 2011.

State leaders say the improving job numbers are a sign the economy is improving.

“The state’s unemployment rate has been tracking downward rapidly since fourth quarter 2011, as the recovery picked up speed,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Newly revised figures for 2011 show that the statewide unemployment rate averaged 5.9 percent in 2011, which was the sixth-lowest rate in the nation.”

Iowa’s unemployment rate — and total nonfarm employment — were adjusted downward beginning in July, the revised data shows. The January report was delayed while the data was benchmarked. February’s employment data will be released March 30.

The estimate of unemployed Iowans dropped to 90,400 in January from 93,400 in December. A year ago, 101,200 Iowans were unemployed.

The state says manufacturing has gained jobs for 19 consecutive months, based on the adjusted 2011 data shows.

Leisure and hospitality services gained 3,200 jobs in January, but remains down 900 jobs for the year. Other services added 1,600 jobs in January and has 1,100 jobs over a year earlier.

Construction added 300 jobs in January and is ahead 3,100 jobs compared to January 2011.

Some of the largest year-over-year losses came from government, with 4,000 fewer jobs, and professional and business services, dropping 3,200 jobs compared to January 2011. Professional and business services pared 1,200 jobs in January over December, declining in four of the last five months, the state said.

The professional services job losses came primarily from temporary employment, a sign that employers are hiring full-time workers instead of relying on temp workers, the state said.

Education and health services shed the most jobs in January, down 2,500. The loss was primarily fueled by a seasonal drop in education services, the state said. The sector is only 200 jobs ahead of a year earlier.

Trade and transportation lost 700 jobs in January but remains up 2,900 jobs. The state said gains in wholesale trade was more than offset by losses in retail trade and transportation.

Harper Brush Works Expands in Fairfield

From left: Tracy Vance, Executive Director FEDA; Brady Gros, CEO Harper Brush Works; Representative Curt Hanson; Mayor Ed Malloy

Harper Brush Works is consolidating its distribution operations to its Fairfield, Iowa location as part of its Performance Improvement Program. The consolidation plan includes the addition of 25 to 30 jobs and is supported by a state and local incentive package that has been approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the City of Fairfield.

Last Friday, Harper Brush received its financial assistance package from the State of Iowa, City of Fairfield, and the Fairfield Economic Development Association. Harper Brush received $160,000 from the State, $32,000 in matching funds from the City and $108,000 from FEDA.

Harper Brush Works is a family owned company founded in 1900 by A.K. Harper. Fairfield, Iowahas been home to Harper Brush Works and its national headquarters since its founding in 1900. Harper Brush Works is a manufacturer of brooms, brushes, and other handheld cleaning products. Harper Brush Works currently has U.S. manufacturing and distribution facilities in Fairfield, Iowa and Greenville, North Carolina. Harper products are sold in major retail outlets and in the commercial cleaning industry. Brady Gros is the seventh person to head Harper Brush works in its 111 year history and, only the third non-family member to serve in that capacity.

“At Harper, we were not satisfied with our service levels to our customers. In our analysis of the reasons why, we quickly determined that we were spending too much time and expense trying to forecast inventory needs by location and then moving products between sites. In today’s turbulent economy, a successful company is always analyzing ways to improve their service levels and re-inventing their approach to doing business, which is the reason why we have initiated this new program. Based on the impressive team that’s in place at Harper, I am confident we can make that happen,” said CEO Brady Gros.

Gros went on to say, “After discussions with the Fairfield Economic Development Association, the City of Fairfield and the Iowa Economic Development Authority we quickly realized that our Fairfield facility was the best place to consolidate our distribution operations as part of our Performance Improvement Program. I want to thank them for their work and efforts in helping us with this initiative”.

The Fairfield Economic Development Association Executive Director, Tracy Vance, said, “This is a great example of FEDA, City and State officials working together to meet the needs of a very valuable industry in our community.”

Fairfield Mayor, Ed Malloy stated, “The city of Fairfield is very pleased that Harper Brush Works is expanding its presence in Fairfield. Harper has been a community partner for 111 years and I welcome the addition of the new jobs but, more importantly, the continued presence of Harper Brush in Fairfield.”