LED Lighting Conversion Nets Massive Savings for New Bedford Manufacturer
AFC Cable Systems is an industry leader in the design manufacture and supply of electrical distribution products. It is fitting that a company that devotes so much attention to optimizing the delivery of energy through their flexible and armored cables and conduit should also scrutinize their own energy efficiency at the company’s giant 500,000 square foot production headquarters in New Bedford.
The decision makers at AFC Cable Systems, now part of Atkore International, reached out to Energy Source LLC, a National energy conservation firm located in nearby Providence, Rhode Island to address that need. The project that was completed as a result of the partnership soundly demonstrated its value by delivering savings in the millions of kiloWatt hours, annually and added in the hundreds of thousands to the bottom line of AFC Cable Systems.
Every bit of those savings is attributable to one factor alone: Converting from traditional fluorescent to highly efficient LED Lighting.
James Lavoie, who handled the energy audit for Energy Source, said the savings opportunities were apparent as soon as his team stepped into the half million square foot facility and saw the staggeringly large lighting array consisting of more than 1,500 fluorescent fixtures.
“The problem with traditional fluorescent lighting, from an energy savings perspective, is two fold. First, when compared to modern LED, they are almost shamefully inefficient. And second, they are virtually everywhere. Most commercial buildings that haven’t yet done an LED retrofit are wasting a lot of energy dollars due to continuing with outdated fluorescent lighting. We knew that the faster we could get those 1,500 fixtures changed over to high efficiency LED, the faster we could turn the ship around and start to realize energy savings for the client.” Lavoie said.
LED lighting is highly efficient and fundamentally different from fluorescent lighting which runs an electric current through gas to generate light. Instead, LED gives light solely by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material. They have tremendous longevity which also reduces ongoing maintenance costs. In fact the lifespan of an LED surpasses the short life of an incandescent bulb by thousands of hours. They are better for the environment and the quality of light is also more aesthetically pleasing. LED also offers the advantage of being dynamically dimmable for even greater energy conservation.
Lavoie and his team presented their findings to the Atkore team, along with a proposal to begin the project. A competitive distinction for Energy Source is the fact that they are able to secure utility incentives on behalf of their clients, which makes the financing of projects very attractive.
The entire project was executed seamlessly in approximately two months. The installation team worked around the company’s 24 hour manufacturing schedule with virtually zero interruption to production.
The net result of this conservation initiative was a reduction in energy use of 1,051,000 kiloWatt Hours annually, amounting to dollar savings of $173,000 annually into the future. This combined with the hundreds of thousands of dollars in Utility Incentives secured by Energy Source gives this project a simple payback of 1.4 years.