Food distributor, manufacturer slash lighting energy costs through LED upgrades

Intelligent LED lighting tech company Digital Lumens is offering up information about one of its first major customers: Food distributor Maines Paper & Food Service from Conklin, N.Y.

Intelligent LED lighting tech company Digital Lumens is offering up information about one of its first major customers: Food distributor Maines Paper & Food Service from Conklin, N.Y., reports that it has cut its lighting-related energy usage by 87 percent through an upgrade to the Digital Lumens technology.

The facility was especially hard to retrofit because it combines both freezer and refrigerator space with dry areas. Pat DeOrdio, vice president of Maines Paper & Food Service, said he researched close to 10 different technologies before settling on the Digital Lumens Intelligent Lighting System.

One of the reasons DeOrdio selected the Digital Lumens LED technology is because it was the best solution for the cold environments in his company's 460,000-square-foot headquarters facility -- able to turn on and off in a matter of seconds. Comparable fluroscent lights that he evaluated were required to stay on perpetually in order to stay warm enough to light all the way. This would have required Maines Paper & Food Service to pump more cooling into its freezers and refrigerators. Digital Lumens was able to cut not only the lighting costs but also cooling costs for the facility, he says.

In all, there were 484 lights installed in the facility, a retrofit that DeOrdio says will take about 1 year to show a return on investment.

The company's lighting energy costs were reduced by 87 percent, and it also is cutting about 1.7 million kiowatt hours of consumption annually. Lighting represents about 20 percent of Maines Paper & Food Service's warehouse electricity costs. The installation was handled by Groom Energy, which is a lighting technology consultant and integrator. Maines Paper & Food Services was also able to find some financial incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Although it involves an entirely different company, I also wanted to point out an LED retrofit success story just published by Dialight, a maker of high-efficiency high bay luminaires. The case study involves Rockline Industries, a major manufacturer of paper products that counts Walmart among its biggest customers. It offers another example of the profound impact that lighting technologies can have on helping industrial businesses save money on their electricity costs.

The retrofit, which was part of Rockline's Changing Our Environmental Footprint program; it involved the replacement of 140 400-watt metal halide fixtures with Dialight DuroSite LED High Bay fixtures. The retrofit in its manufacturing facility will help cut the energy consumption per fixture to 150 watts (compared with the previous 400 watts). It also has helped reduce maintenance costs and air-conditioning demand by 15 percent to 20 percent, because there isn't as much heat being created by the lights.

Rockline has applied for a $48,000 rebate from its utility company, Southwestern Electric Power Co., in order to help offset the costs of the retrofit.

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