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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

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In Festival Guide

The sustainability tower is powered by wind and solar energy.

In Festival Guide

The Johnson Controls World Sound Stage boasts a diverse lineup and a new energy efficiency.

In Festival Guide

This screen shows real-time energy improvement results.

Stage upgrades can keep Koch rockin' a Fender amp for 21,418 hours


Back in March, when summer and Summerfest seemed a distant dream, Milwaukee World Festival announced that Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls had inked a three-year deal to sponsor the covered Big Gig stage that was formerly sponsored by Potawatomi Bingo Casino.

The stage, just north of the Mid-Gate entrance, offers a range of styles at Summerfest 2013, from R&B groups The Spinners and Morris Day & The Time, to African outfits Amadou & Mariam and Femi Kuti & The Positive Force to New Orleans legend Dr. John and hometown favorites like Willy Porter, Pat McCurdy and Greg Koch.

The sponsorship also allows Johnson Controls – which creates products and solutions to enhance energy efficiency in buildings – the ability to consult with Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. and aide in the effort to improve the efficiencies of the stage and event operations at the festival park.

That process has already begun at the Johnson Control World Sound Stage with changes that will save an estimated 7,700,700 watt hours, or to put it in terms Koch would appreciate, enough to power a Fender Frontman guitar amp for 21,418 hours.

Though to the naked eye, the stage doesn't appear much different, aside from signage, the improvements so far include replacing lighting in the seating area with higher efficiency LED bulbs, new split system high efficiency air conditioning units in backstage dressing rooms and production offices and the installation of a Metasys building management system that will provide real-time information on energy usage in the stage area, allowing for efficiency tweaks.

"Johnson Controls works on sustainability projects around the world and to show how we can help make Summerfest, located in our hometown, more energy efficient, is a great way to tell our story to thousands of music lovers who will enjoy this world-class festival," said Ward Komorowski, director of global facilities for Johnson Controls.

The stage will also feature a "sustainability tower" at the entrance to the seating area that will explain the changes to festival-goers, who can learn more about energy efficiency and will be able to see real-time energy improvement results that are measured throughout the event.

The tower will also boast a wind turbine and solar panels to demonstrate how nature's own energy can be harvested. That energy will be used to power the displays on the sustainability tower.

"We are continually looking for ways to increase our operational efficiencies at Summerfest and Henry Maier Festival Park," said Summerfest spokesman John Boler.

"The new Johnson Controls sponsorship on the World Sound Stage helps us deliver a high quality entertainment experience and musical programming for Summerfest-goers, and aids us in reducing our energy usage while showcasing real-world applications of Johnson Controls' technology and expertise to our attendees."


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