The Eco Engineering Approach
Eco Engineering helps our customers identify and implement energy-savings solutions that deliver improved financial results, create an ideal visual environment, and preserve our world for future generations.
We have successfully completed over 100 projects in light and heavy manufacturing and assembly facilities. Combined, these projects have involved over 45 million square feet of total space. Our experience offers critical insights and key learnings about energy efficient lighting projects in these types of facilities.
Reduced Operating Expenses
The primary reason industrial entities embark on an energy efficient lighting upgrade project is to reduce operating expenses. According to the most recent U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Energy Consumption Survey, the following are characteristics of “manufacturing” facilities:
- Average annual electricity expense – $4.89 per square foot
- Average facility size – 82,312 square feet
- Lighting portion of the energy expense – ~6.8% of the total electricity consumed
- Average energy cost reduction as result of energy efficient lighting upgrade – ~43% of the electricity consumed for lighting
The EIA metrics are averages for all manufacturing facilities carrying NACS codes in the 300’s. Facilities in the petroleum, chemical, paper and primary metals industries use far less lighting as a share of total electricity consumed and are very large industrial facilities. These environments impact the averages given above and bring down the lighting portion of energy expense available for savings. However, facilities in the apparel, textile, furniture, electronic components, machinery and transportation equipment sectors use substantially more lighting – often as high as 12-16% of electricity consumed – making the pool available for savings significantly larger.
The energy savings are made possible by more efficient lighting technologies (often LED) which consume less energy and produce higher output while exhibiting a visually appealing appearance. The added benefits of reduced maintenance expenses are a direct result of longer lasting technologies.
When the new lighting technology is coupled with controls that manage light output based on factors such as occupancy, motion, and available natural daylight, the energy savings accelerate. Despite the additional expense of deploying controls, greater energy savings often equal or surpass the cost difference.
Industrial facilities often provide an opportunity for significant savings in maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) expenses following a lighting upgrade. These savings can carry a significant impact on the financial payback analysis associated with a project. Safety concerns caused by failed existing technology are also mitigated. Eco Engineering works closely with our clients to calculate the current expense in maintaining and repairing the existing lighting systems and then we conservatively estimate the savings from an upgraded lighting system.
Incentives and Tax Credits
The identification and qualification of federal, state and local tax incentives or utility company rebates can have a substantial impact on the financials of any project. Eco Engineering helps our manufacturing customers in the identification and administration of such incentives. Our engineering grade audits provide a comprehensive assessment of the kWh savings and specific technology systems that will be required to achieve rebate or tax credit qualification. Our designs incorporate these details to maximize energy savings and fulfill the full amount of available utility savings.
The temperature variation in a manufacturing or production environment can be extreme. The impact of these temperature fluctuations and the potential micro-climates within any facility require careful consideration and appropriate use of specific lighting technologies. Eco Engineering has successfully completed lighting upgrade projects in facilities that operated at temperatures as low as -40°F. We have also worked in the extreme heat of a machine laden factory floor. The correct configurations are critical in these applications to ensure proper performance. What works at 95°F may not be appropriate at -40°F and energy efficiency will suffer. In most cases, the best solution is a combination of several types of fixtures within the same facility to achieve maximum energy savings and the proper light levels to do the work. Our experience shows that “one size fits all” does not apply to these facility types.
Work Environment Issues
Many manufacturing facilities require a dedicated shift or periodic intervals for cleaning. During this process the use of high pressure water treatments and – in some cases – chemical agents, can potentially reach and penetrate lighting fixtures. Understanding the cleaning procedures within the facility allows us to develop a comprehensive evaluation of all fixture locations. Certain fixture types may be recommended to protect them from dust, water and chemicals.
Production facilities are often subject to a variety of federal and state regulations regarding the materials they handle and the final goods they produce. Safety and quality concerns must be factored into the design and on-site execution of any lighting project in a manufacturing facility. Knowing what to do and not do could be the difference between a successful project and a future hassle caused by an alleged irregularity or potential violation of a regulatory provision. This is especially critical in facilities governed by FDA and EPA guidelines and includes everything right down to proper disposal of replaced fixtures and ballasts.
Finally, Eco Engineering understands that the “sustainability” movement is of critical importance to many industrial and manufacturing concerns. Improved energy efficiency in the lighting arena is one way to help demonstrate their commitment to a brighter future for all.