Coxsackie Antique Center, West Coxsackie, New York
6,200 Sq. Feet
Annual Cash Savings: $400
Annual Energy savings: 17,292 kWh
Payback period: 2.7 years
Prevented 20,930 pounds of pollution
Central Hudson Gas & Electric
Diane Johns knows a lot about energy efficiency—she works for the New York State Public Service Commission. How does that come in handy? Diane and her husband Bill own and operate the Coxsackie Antique Center in West Coxsackie, NY. Located in a turn-of-the-century building, the Coxsackie Antique Center was once a gas station, a World War II depot center, and a warehouse; now it’s a multidealer store. The building, which provided the ambiance for an antique shop, did not provide the cozy atmosphere that the Johnses were seeking. The frigid upstate New York winters made the drafty and uninsulated store cold and uncomfortable. The Johnses knew they needed to do something about it.
The Johnses decided to talk to their landlord to find a way to improve the conditions inside the store. The landlord consented to pay for a new roof, while the Johnses agreed to pay for the insulating costs. The total cost of insulation amounted to $1,100. The high cost did not deter the Johnses, because they knew the insulation improvements would pay back both in added comfort levels and in energy savings.
Since the Johnses pay for their utilities directly, they decided to proceed with the project. They started by installing blown-in cellulose insulation in the ceiling throughout the store. Last winter the Johnses noted a dramatic improvement in the warmth and air quality of the store’s interior. Moreover, the Johnses have been able to calculate actual savings. They reduced their annual gas bill by $400. They calculate that in three years the insulation will have paid for itself. After that, the $400 saved per year will go straight to the bottom line.
The Johnses’ next step was to improve the lighting in the store. The landlord had already agreed to pay for the upgrades, so the Johnses contacted their local utility, Central Hudson Gas and Electric, and requested a free energy audit. This all-inclusive audit examined lighting levels and light conditions and provided a new lighting design. The Johnses were aware of the many inefficiencies of the existing lighting system. Several of the standard lamps, magnetic ballasts, and fluorescent fixtures did not operate. The lamps had a high burnout rate. Furthermore, the store had been lit mainly with incandescent table lamps to compensate for the lack of operable ceiling fixtures.
The Johnses agree that the lighting project has been a bit more challenging. Their store operates seven days a week, so finding enough time to implement the complicated lighting upgrades has been difficult.
The Johnses have already switched most of the incandescent lamps to more energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps. Brighter light has provided a more cheerful atmosphere. The Johnses know that they will have to tackle the fluorescent lights next. They are confident that the lighting levels will provide the visual appeal desired for the store.