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Island egg-grading facility gets brighter, saves $9,000 a year

Image of worker in upgraded Burnbrae Farms facility
An upgrade from metal halide lighting to energy-efficient induction lighting has put Burnbrae Farms' facility in Westholme in a better light, operationally and financially.

With a $20,584 incentive, upgrade costs will be paid back in less than four years

To work with eggs, you need good light. When the time came for a lighting upgrade at Burnbrae Farms' egg-grading facility in Westholme on Vancouver Island, the energy-efficient route had many advantages.

"We have very strict audits throughout the year that require us to maintain a certain lux reading throughout our facility since we work with a food product," said Fion Palm, plant manager for Burnbrae Farms' Vancouver Island division. "Switching from our previous 400-watt metal halide lighting to energy-efficient 250-watt induction lighting allowed us to achieve this and save money, so it was an easy decision."

Burnbrae is a family-owned and operated company that has been producing eggs for more than 60 years. It has farms in Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec and grading stations across the country, making it a major supplier of eggs and egg products to grocery chains, food-service operations and large bakery and industrial customers in Canada.

Lighting upgrades were completed at its Vancouver Island egg-grading plant in March 2013, but Palm said all the company's plants will get lighting retrofits in the near future.

"We upgraded all our lighting in our building, including loading docks, production plant, storage rooms, coolers and offices," Palm said. "We replaced 30 hanging bay lights, 20 office track lights, six loading-dock lights, and also added photo cells to all our building exterior light and motion sensors throughout the plant."

Lighting upgrade fits with commitment to sustainability

It's not surprising that the company would look to energy efficiency; after all, its values statement includes a commitment to sustainability: "We strive to lead our industry in the promotion of healthy living, animal care, high quality standards, community support and environmental sustainability."

The company worked with Energy Advantage to implement an Employee Energy Awareness Program at all facilities across Canada.

"Our goal is to reduce Burnbrae Farms' energy consumption by three percent over the next year to reduce our carbon footprint," Palm said, noting this will be achieved through a wide number of initiatives both within the plants and offices. "Each Burnbrae Farms location has energy team leaders who work with employees and senior management to achieve this goal."

Incentive program offered easy way to quick payback, good savings

Burnbrae heard about BC Hydro's Power Smart and Self-Serve Incentive (SIP) programs through its electrical contractor, and Palm is glad they did.

"Our experience overall was great, right from our local electrical supplier through to the BC Hydro rebate submission," he said. "Our approval for the rebate was very quick. The website and paperwork for the SIP was user-friendly and rebate was prompt."

The results have also been good. The company got a $20,584 incentive for the $53,248 project from BC Hydro, and the improvements have led to 129,050 KWh savings.

"Our projected payback is 3.61 years with a savings of $9,000 a year," Palm said, adding that the payback could come sooner, taking into account savings in maintenance costs for tasks such as replacing bulbs and ballasts as the new ballasts and lights last much longer than the old ones.

Brighter times for employees

Energy and cost savings weren't the only benefits. "The metal halide lights left our plant gloomy and dull, and now with the induction lighting the plant is very bright," he said. "We've had lots of positive feedback from our employees and auditors."

As for others who are considering energy-efficient lighting upgrades, Palm's advice is to the point: "Just go for it; it's a no-brainer."