By Mike Pearson, News staff
When Agri-Plastics decided to retrofit its Stoney Creek manufacturing facility with energy efficient lighting, the benefits went far beyond the electricity bill.
Instead of struggling with lighting that cast an odd orange glow on the production lines, workers have increased productivity thanks to the new lighting units. The company replaced its 400-watt high pressure sodium and fluorescent T12 fixtures with T5 units, induction and LED lighting, to save more than 300,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.
Along with happier workers, Agri-Plastics has achieved estimated annual kilowatt hour savings of 68 per cent.
On March 26, company director Darren VanBuuren was awarded an Energy Savings Champions Award from Horizon Utilities. Agri-Plastics was recognized for achieving the largest percentage reduction of annual kilowatt hours of any Horizon customer or contractor.
With locations in Stoney Creek and Grassie, Ont., Agri-Plastics is known for its calf houses, which are widely used by dairy farmers. The company includes three other divisions in addition to its calf housing products. Other divisions focus on material handling, rotational molding and ATV storage boxes.
Along with stronger U.S. exports arising from a lower Canadian dollar, lower energy bills are boosting Agri-Plastics’ bottom line.
“It’s a big change on the hydro bill, definitely, said VanBuuren.
Agri-Plastics has two modern rotomolding facilities, with over 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space.
Max Cananzi, president and CEO of Horizon Utilities, said the utility company encourages innovations that reduce both the demand for electricity as well as the overall energy usage over the course of a year.
“It’s important to do both,” said Cananzi.
Horizon measures energy reductions by multiplying demand by the number of hours. For example, a 15-watt CFL lightbulb that lights a room for 1,000 hours will use 15,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
Three other Hamilton and St. Catharines companies were recognized during a March 26 awards luncheon at the Grand Olympia Hospitality and Convention Centre in Stoney Creek.
Mark’s (formerly Mark's Work Warehouse) was recognized for acheiving the largest percentage demand reduction in kilowatt hours at one location. The company’s St. Catharines location also initiated a lighting retrofit, resulting in a 22 per cent reduction of its average monthly electricity demand.
A contractor participation award went to Graybar Canada, a Halifax-based wholesale distributor of automation, data communications and electrical products. Graybar’s Hamilton location acheived energy savings of more than 740,000 kilowatt hours last year.
St. Catharines property management company Wilson Blanchard and contractor Johnson controls shared the most innovative project award. By using the latest energy automation technology in several residential and commercial properties, Wilson Blanchard and Johnson Controls have saved more than 190,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.