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Industrial gas supplier saves big on Annacis Island lighting upgrades

Image of the interior of Praxair's Delta, B.C. facility
Praxair's office, distribution centre and manufacturing plant in Delta had lighting fixtures originally installed in 1993. Upgrading to T5 fluorescents and adding motion detectors will save $30,000 to $40,000 a year.

With at least $30,000 in annual savings, Praxair gets 25-month payback on investment

The people at Praxair, which produces and supplies industrial gas throughout the world, are committed to energy efficiency. So switching to energy-efficient lights at Praxair's operations on Annacis Island in Delta was a natural.

The company's provincial head office, central distribution centre and manufacturing plant were built in 1993 using what were then high-quality fixtures, but the lighting was no longer sufficient.

"We had about 65 400-watt metal halide fixtures inside our plant and probably another 30 outside in the yard and 35 to 40 in our distribution centre," operations support manager Rob Parsons says. "In all areas we replaced them with four-foot-long T5 fluorescent lighting."

The company also put motion sensors on lights on the outside of the building and in the distribution centre toward the back of the warehouse.

Everyone is happy with the upgrade. "With the brighter lighting, employees commented on how much more pleasant it was to work in the plant," Parsons says.

Company beats payback projection by five months

He says the company heard about BC Hydro's Self-service Incentive Program (SIP) from their electrical contractor. With the help of an energy auditor, the company identified improvements that would be suitable for the facility.

The total cost of the project was about $122,000, minus a SIP rebate of about $16,000. Electrical savings were projected at about $30,000 to $40,000 a year.

"Taking our BC Hydro bill savings they'd originally projected a two-and-a-half-year to three-year payback," Parsons says. "With the actual electrical savings we came in at 25 months for a payback. We beat the payback period by five months."

Asked about the company's experience with SIP, BC Hydro and the lighting supplier, Parsons responds, "In one word, excellent. We are extremely satisfied with the project and looking to replicate it in other facilities in the province."

The company is also looking at upgrading lighting and putting in motion sensors in its Prince George facility. "If the offices aren't in use there's no sense in having the lights on," he says.

The 'right thing for the environment'

"[SIP] is a great program to take advantage of," he adds. "You'll realize savings not only in your costs and your energy consumption but also you'll get a little bit of help from the SIP program for the installation and purchase of the fixtures. And it's just the right thing to do for the environment."

Parsons doesn't hesitate to encourage other companies to take advantage of the program. "I strongly recommended starting the energy audit process to see where your facility currently stands," he says. "Understand and believe in the cost savings and implement as much as you can into your facility. "

The company has also made other energy improvements. "Part of Praxair's core beliefs is to move to sustainable development whenever it is possible," Parsons says. "Over the last few years we've upgraded our roofing membrane and heating systems to more energy-efficient products."