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Alpha Technologies 'brighter, cleaner', saves 190,000 kWh/year

Image of Tammy Akey, Alpha Technologies
"You'd think a lighting retrofit would be a pain," says Alpha Technologies' Tammy Akey. "But it really wasn't."

Environmental committee helps high tech company find energy savings

When Tammy Akey joined Alpha Technologies in Burnaby nearly three years ago, she also joined the environmental committee that works on sustainability measures related to waste, transportation and energy usage. It was her ticket to playing a larger role in the workplace.

"I love it," says Akey, Alpha's national HSE (health, safety and environment) and facilities manager.

Akey's first project idea — to help the company find a way to recycle foam packaging — was adopted by the committee, leading to the recycling of more than 13,000 pounds of foam.

Efficient lighting in warehouse, production area qualifies for $29,000 incentive

Alpha Technologies provides power solutions and services to industries as diverse as telecommunications, transportation, security, and renewable energy. The 35-year old company holds ISO 140001 environmental certification and has been named in the top 100 high-tech companies in B.C. for several years. Its Burnaby facility employs about 400 people.

As part of their energy focus, Akey and the environmental committee began to look at energy efficiency. When the team learned about Power Smart incentives for industrial lighting projects, they proposed a lighting retrofit for the Burnaby warehouse and production floor.

The retrofit cost $53,618 and qualified for funding of $29,078 from the Self-serve Incentive Program (SIP). With new efficient lighting, plus timers that shut off lighting in areas that are not occupied, the company is projected to save 190,000 kWh of energy per year — enough to power 17 B.C. homes.

Image of Alpha Technologies interior
Upgraded lighting at Alpha Technologies' Burnaby facility has been a hit with those who work there.

Upgrade incentives help bring bright lights, big savings

Akey says the cost savings were not the only benefit. "Our old lights had a yellow tinge, so with these new, whiter lights it looks cleaner and fresher," she says. "The atmosphere is brighter. People like it."

Akey says working with BC Hydro to apply for and receive incentives was a pleasant surprise. "Everything happened so quickly, and it was so smooth; I was really surprised about that," she says.

Alpha was also able to install the new lighting without impacting production, which was also a plus. "We didn't do it at night, but it was still relatively easy. You would think that [a lighting retrofit] would be a real pain, but it really wasn't," says Akey.

Employee engagement at all levels a key to success

Akey says the lighting project was the largest initiative of the environmental committee to date, and it has encouraged the group to continue seeking new efficiencies. And she says she has seen how important it is to include employees at all levels in the effort.

"I would say that worker engagement is really important, and it's different from getting the leadership team involved. If you can have both of those two things, then I think you can have a very successful environmental program."