Rishi Tea Saves with Focus on Energy Design Assistance

January 13, 2015

Rishi Tea, growing at a rate of 10 percent per year, designed and built a new state-of-the-art 50,000 square foot facility in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley using the Focus on Energy Design Assistance Program. The Design Assistance Program provides building owners, builders, developers and design professionals with analysis of energy-saving options for the design of new buildings. In addition, the program offers incentives to design teams and to building owners, which can be used to reduce the upfront cost of high-efficiency measures that exceed Wisconsin energy code requirements.

The Design Assistance Program provided a whole building energy analysis for Rishi’s specialized manufacturing facility; specialized because this facility manufactures tea, and as such, has very strict environmental requirements including humidification. The strict humidification requirements and the awareness that maintaining the tight humidity set points would be a significant contributor to energy usage led to the implementation of direct expansion (DX) cooling efficiencies. These systems, which resulted in nearly 30 percent savings over the Program baseline, are vital in keeping the tea leaves, herbs and spices used in Rishi Tea’s increasingly organic products fresh and uncompromised.

Additionally, the project team, including Briohn Building Corporation, H&H Mechanical, and HFR Electric, employed other key energy efficiency measures in achieving their high energy savings goals. Liquid desiccant systems were used on two of the rooftop units and total heat recovery on another. Demand control ventilation was put in place on a volume variable temperature (VVT) air handling system serving the office areas, and the overall fan power of the design came in well below the Program baseline allowance. The unique nature of the building and product also resulted in the project team using occupancy sensors to control lights in the corridor, restroom, manufacturing, and loading dock spaces. Through the use of LEDs and fluorescent lamp types, the project team was able to achieve a 43% reduction in lighting power density from the Program baseline allowance.

“Our goal with the Design Assistance Program was to support the company’s openness to innovation and passion for their work while helping them to achieve their energy goals,” said Adam Niederloh, program implementer. “Features enjoyed by employees include high ceilings covering open workspace, a comfortable library where they can meditate, a conference room and cafeteria with communal seating.”

Overall, the team achieved an energy cost savings of 41 percent compared to the Focus on Energy Program baseline. It’s this type of design excellence that will allow Rishi Tea to continue to grow and expand their expertise in a market demanding only the highest quality products. Who knew sustainable design and fine drinks could go hand in hand?

Focus on Energy helps Wisconsin businesses lower operational costs and improve their bottom lines through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Click the link on the Focus on Energy business page for more information about the Design Assistance Program and other commercial programs.

Municipality/Location: 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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