More than ever, companies are searching for ways to satisfy financial and environmental goals.
In early 2009, managers at Edison, N.J.-based Dr. Leonard's Healthcare Corp., a supplier of health products, exercise equipment and dietary supplements, set out to address problems the company was having with its facility lighting. For starters, the cost of lighting the company's building was too high and ever climbing. In addition, changing the high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs every year was costly and time consuming. Lastly, the outdated lighting fixtures did not meet the company's overall sustainability goals.
So, supervisors began looking for new ways to update the lighting system. “We knew we wanted something that was energy efficient, brighter and better for the environment,” says Pete Reno, general manager.
The company's material handling service provider, Grace Material Handling (GMH) in Millington, N.J., was starting to get familiar with energy-efficient lighting options. Christopher Tomasello, GMH president, realized many of his customers needed more environmentally friendly lighting.
During his research, Tomasello came across Orion Energy Systems, a supplier of high-intensity fluorescent lighting technologies. Founded in 1996 by Neal Verfuerth, Orion designs, manufactures and deploys energy-efficient lighting systems, wireless control systems and solar and photovoltaic technologies for commercial and industrial applications.
According to Orion, when a facility replaces its traditional HID lighting with high-intensity fluorescent lighting, it can double light levels while reducing electricity use by more than 50%. Greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced without compromising facility operations, says CEO Verfuerth.
Tomasello recommended the Orion technology to Reno. Shortly thereafter, the retrofit began.
Lighting the Way
After evaluating the facility's existing lighting, GMH reviewed the electricity bill and used it to illustrate potential return on investment.
Next, GMH presented Dr. Leonard's with an energy proposal report generated from data obtained through the audit. The report included a proposed solution detailing economic, environmental and operational improvements. After the analysis was complete, Tomasello determined that the company could save tens of thousands of dollars a year.
GMH's report also detailed environmental impacts. Over a 23-year period, the facility would decrease its output of carbon dioxide by 14,556 tons, sulfur dioxide by 63 tons, nitrogen oxide by 31 tons and mercury by 251 grams. Based on the analysis, Dr. Leonard's decided to proceed.
Today, Dr. Leonard's can look back and see the retrofit in a new light. In the first six months, the lighting paid for itself by saving the company more than $90,000 a year. As a bonus, Dr. Leonard's qualified for $50,000 in tax credits through the New Jersey Clean Energy Program.
“It's definitely a lot brighter,” says Reno. In addition, the new lights last longer than the old system, allowing company managers to focus less of their time light on bulb replacement. “We like that we are able to conduct our business in the same way, while reducing the amount of energy our facility uses,” Reno concludes. “Hopefully, other companies will take the same path. It's the right thing to do.”
Philip Tomasello is marketing director at Grace Material Handling Co., a material handling equipment distributor servicing the greater New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, Pennsylvania and the New England region.