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Storage facility upgrades lighting, saves $2,573 annually

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'We were using some huge energy burners,' says owner of Campbell River business

Ted Arbour, owner of Econo EZY Box Storage in Campbell River, has always been energy conscious, so when staff in a local electrical supply store told him about BC Hydro's Product Incentive Program, he signed up straight away.

The Product Incentive Program provides rebates to small and medium-sized businesses that invest in energy efficient upgrades, including lighting, heating and ventilation controls, kitchen and other commercial equipment.

"I had been waiting for something like this," says Arbour. "So I jumped right in."

Old exterior lighting included "huge energy burners"

Econo EZY Box Storage has been in business for nearly 25 years — and their lighting had been in business for at least that long as well. "Some of our lights were used when we bought them 25 years ago," says Arbour. "We were using some huge energy burners. And with the dull winters here on the coast, they were on for a lot of hours."

Since the storage facility is remodelling some of the offices into retail space to sell packing materials such as boxes and tape, this was a great time to upgrade for better energy efficiency. And, with 900 storage units in warehouses across roughly six acres of land, there were numerous opportunities to reduce lighting energy use.

Making the switch: new fluorescents and LEDs

Since the end of summer, the business has converted 150 indoor fluorescents in its lobbies and offices to lower energy fluorescents, and upgraded 39 exterior metal halide lights to LEDs.

BC Hydro estimates these upgrades will save the business $2,573* annually.

Up next: occupancy sensors, and more

And Arbour's not stopping there. "We're now in the process of converting about 300 bulbs in the hallways and some of the storage lockers over to LEDs," he says.

His next step will be to install occupancy sensors in the hallways, and motion sensors on all exterior lights that don't have to be on constantly.

And after that? "Our entrance sign uses a lot of power. I'd like to get a new sign with LEDs or something. I'll also do some more fine-tuning on the lighting in different buildings."

Cutting costs and hugging trees

It hasn't been long enough to realize the cost-savings from all these upgrades, but with their PIP incentives, the payback period won't be long. And Arbour is already looking further down the road.

"I want to keep bringing our energy consumption down," he says. "I eventually hope to install solar panels on the low-sloping roofs so the buildings will generate some of their own energy."

Arbour says his motivation for the upgrades comes from both a keen business sense and a desire to protect the environment.

"I'm a business-oriented person," he says. "I really watch the pennies and turn them into dollars. And, I'm also a tree hugger, so I support anything we can do to make this a better world."

* 28,589 Kwh saved each year x $.09 per Kwh = $2,573 annual savings.