Homer Robertson, from left, Taurean Green and Keith Childs move steel parts at River City Steel. The company has completed a lighting retrofit of its 40,000-square-foot production warehouse.
River City Steel, which has a 40,000-square-foot production warehouse, was looking at bulbs and fixtures that were steadily becoming obsolete and less reliable. Summerall suggested a state-of-the-art retrofit that will end up saving the company almost $13,000 in annual utility costs.
But the reward was even bigger than that for River City Steel. The company also gets a more than $20,000 Tennessee Valley Authority rebate because of the project, as well as a tax incentive.
Lighting retrofits involve replacing a system with parts that make it use electricity more efficiently. An upgrade is any strategy that reduces the system’s energy use. Among the benefits: electricity savings are realized both immediately and over time, and they can be large enough to not only pay for the new equipment but to produce a return on the investment.
“First we looked at the cost of changing out the bulbs and ballasts on the old mercury vapor fixtures we had, but we found out that the bulbs and fixtures are steadily becoming obsolete,” said River City Steel general manager Mike Sobczak. “We talked to Summerall Electric and decided to go with a state-of-the-art retrofit, and then we came to find out the bonus. The TVA was offering rebates for doing this.”
Summerall CEO Holli Weatherington points to the retrofit as being part of the growing trend of local businesses “going green” and serving as an example of how companies can cut annual costs by lowering energy consumption.
“It’s a great project,” she said. “They actually came to us with some lighting problems. They said they were having this problem with their older lights going out all the time, and I immediately talked to them about an upgrade.
“Once they told me what kind of lights they had, it was clear they were old, inefficient kinds of fixtures that burn out easily and that you see in these 20-year-old and 30-year-old warehouses. They said they were sick of buying lights all the time, so we suggested a full upgrade to make their lives easier.”
As part of the project, the green tint of the old lights has now been replaced with clean, balanced white light. The new lighting brought increased brightness to the work environment, enhancing visibility the company says can help prevent accidents and increase productivity.
“Over the course of a few months, we hashed out what kind of lighting they needed and what their purposes were there,” Weatherington said. “They were very open. Basically, we can give you an upgrade and save you tons of money on your utility bill, and they were all ears when I told them that.
“I noticed a long time ago that technology was heading this way. Business owners are realizing sustainability is important to their bottom line.”
Source: Memphis Daily News
by Andy Meek