C.W. Thomas Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
67,500 Sq. Feet
Annual Cash Savings: $13,411
Annual Energy Savings: 223,529 kWh
Payback period: 3.8 years
Prevented 402,352 pounds of pollution
Good lighting is just good business. It makes a facility more attractive for clients; helps improve employee morale and productivity; and, with the new, highly energy-efficient lights available today, helps bolster the bottom line. For C.W. Thomas Inc., a manufacturer of thermoformed products, the need is even more critical. Good lighting is essential for quality control.
The company makes plastic products for a variety of industries, including mass transit, commercial refrigeration, and medicine. Its basic manufacturing process involves heating plastic over a mold and performing secondary operations. “Before we had consistent lighting throughout our facility, the different shades and colors of plastic would appear differently. But now, after upgrading our lighting, a shade of plastic looks the same no matter where it is in the building.” The company prides itself on satisfying its customers, so quality control is a crucial concern.
In January, Joseph Priest, who was overseeing the energy-efficiency upgrades, had the facility’s 308 lamps upgraded to T-8 lamps and electronic ballasts.
Because of their smaller diameters, use of phosphorous, and special coating, T-8 lamps are about 20 percent more efficient than the standard T-12 lamps. The electronic ballasts they use are about 30 percent more efficient than the magnetic ballasts used with T-12 lamps.
Ballasts are devices that provide the proper voltage and current to fluorescent lamps, which do not regulate themselves like incandescent lamps. If you use your lights more than 50 hours a week, converting to T-8 lamps and electronic ballasts will substantially cut your energy bill.
To do the upgrades, the company contracted E-Finity, a regional energy service company (ESCO), to evaluate the facility and make upgrade recommendations. Based on the ESCO’s recommendations, C.W. Thomas had the new lights installed for a cost of $51,250. Estimated savings are $13,411 a year. Priest says, “The employees really like it.” Not only is the company saving a bundle in energy costs every year, but the upgrades have improved employee morale and enhanced quality control.
Armed with its energy audit recommendations, C.W. Thomas is also considering additional measures to save on energy costs. “Every time we exceed peak demand,” Priest says, “we get fined $4,000 by the energy utility. One of the things we are looking at is a series of procedures to ensure we avoid exceeding peak demand.” By using computerized controls, which would be installed over a number of years, the company could avoid expensive fines for exceeding peak demand while still allowing it to meet its manufacturing targets.
The company’s Web site, which details the various products it produces and explains its commitment to quality, is located at http://www.cwthomas.com.
“Before we had consistent lighting throughout our facility, the different shades and colors of plastic would appear differently. After upgrading our lighting, a shade of plastic looks the same no matter where it is in the building.”
C.W. Thomas Inc.