Located in Fort Walton Beach, Florida
A 27,000-sq.ft. warehouse and office facility
Annual Cash Savings: $4,200
Annual Energy Savings: 40,527 kWh
Payback period: 6.5 years
Prevented 60,790 pounds of pollution
No one wants to work in a hot building with dim lighting. But those are the conditions the employees of the Gulf Coast Paper Company experienced in a 27,000-sq.ft. warehouse and office facility located in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Constructed in 1973, the facility had undergone only superficial remodeling to the 5,000-sq.ft. office space. After almost 25 years, the facility’s air-conditioning system worked poorly, lighting was dim, and the lighting fixtures’ magnetic ballasts emitted an overwhelming odor when they burned out. It just was not a comfortable place to work. Tom Marler, president of Gulf Coast Paper, knew that something must be done.
Marler did his homework and researched new, energy-efficient technologies in the building industry before deciding what to implement in his facility. First, he retrofitted the existing 4-lamp fixtures that use standard lamps and magnetic ballasts with 2-lamp fixtures that use T-8 lamps and electronic ballasts. In addition, he changed both incandescent exit lights to light-emitting diodes (LED) at a cost of $35 each and replaced the standard light switch for the bathroom lights with an easily installed 8-minute timer.
The lighting retrofits cost $3,900, and the results have been well worth the cost. The retrofits increased light levels and eliminated the odor caused by burned-out magnetic ballasts. The new lights are brighter and more pleasing to the eye, substantially reducing eye strain. Energy savings are also impressive. Marler is saving approximately $2,100 annually on his electric bill for the lighting portion of the upgrade alone.
During Marler’s initial examination of his facility, he discovered that two exterior office walls were not insulated, explaining why the corner office stayed 5 degrees hotter in the summer than the rest of the building. To improve the insulation levels and office comfort, Marler insulated 160 feet of wall space and increased the attic insulation from 4 to 12 inches throughout. In the attic, he added 8-inch batt to the existing 4-inch batt; where existing insulation needed replacement, he installed two layers of 6-inch batt. The insulation cost $6,200 to install, but the benefits are even greater. The additional insulation creates a more comfortable office, reduces air-conditioning load, and saves approximately $700 annually in energy costs.
Once Marler improved the facility’s insulation, he focused on a larger concern--the aging air-conditioning equipment. The three 5-ton units had cooled the facility for more than 20 years. Because of their age and inefficiency, the units were not sufficiently cooling the building. Even though the lighting modifications and the additional insulation would probably reduce the load enough to allow the units to supply sufficient cooling, Marler decided to invest in new air-conditioning units with higher efficiencies. The new units have a scroll compressor and a seasonal energy efficiency ratio of 12—a very efficient system. The three new units cost $16,000 to install.
Marler went one step further. He installed a ceiling fan at each workstation to help circulate the cool air and allow for a higher thermostat setting. The 16 ceiling fans cost $75 each.
“By using energy-efficient technologies, I feel like I have made a leap into the 21st century.”
Gulf Coast Paper Company