Stories & Features

LED retrofit saves family-run business $12,000 a year

Workers at Intercontinental Truck Body gather outside the company's facility in Surrey. Show caption
Metal halide lamps at Intercontinental Truck Body's Surrey facility have now been replaced by LEDs. Show caption
Lighting quality is key at ITB, which produces highly customized truck bodies and trailers for a variety of different uses. Show caption
The switch to LEDs at ITB's Surrey facility will save the company $12,000 a year. Show caption

This story was updated in June 2019.

Old high-intensity discharge lamps were costing the company more than they were worth

Phil Van Dyke is the operations manager at Intercontinental Truck Body (ITB), but that's not how the electronics engineer describes his day-to-day responsibilities. "It's my job to fix what's not working and bring us into the 21st Century," says Van Dyke.

It's a job he's doing quite well, thanks to his persistence and a little help from BC Hydro.

"Ida has been fantastic to work with," says Van Dyke, of the recent support he received from Ida Keung, regional energy manager at BC Hydro. "When all of this started, we weren't part of operational energy analytics, and we weren't using MyHydro either. But after meeting Ida I signed us up for both right away."

When Van Dyke first took Keung's call, he was already in the process of sourcing an LED replacement for the company's metal halide lamps from a lighting manufacturer in the United States. But he was having a hard time finding the right fit.

Known for their bright light and their ability to withstand cool temperatures, high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, like metal halides and high-pressure sodium luminaires, have been used in a variety of commercial and industrial applications for decades. But with declining efficiency, a high cost to operate, and long restrike times, they no longer make sense. But HID fixtures weren't designed with LED retrofits in mind, and that presented a challenge to Van Dyke.

Of particular concern is the limited air flow for conduction and convection for HID LED retrofits. Knowing this, Van Dyke put the LED he received from the U.S. manufacturer to the test, installing it in the company's fabrication areas. The lamp failed. "Despite the manufacturer's claim, it didn't dissipate heat properly," he explains.

Looking locally for another option, Keung and Van Dyke found a fit in a passive cooling LED distributed by Delta-based Commercial Lighting Products. With the right light in hand, Van Dyke retrofitted metal halides in three ITB buildings over a two-year period. He estimates electricity savings of more than 112,960 kilowatt-hours a year, for $12,000 in savings.

Maintenance costs have also dropped and "the quality of light in our workspaces is much better too," he adds.

With a lighting fix in place, Van Dyke has turned his attention to commissioning, the process of assuring that all systems and lighting components are working as designed. He's using MyHydro as his tool to confirm the energy-saving effects of the passive cooling LED, and to keep an eye on the company's peak demand and power factor. "When I get the alert that my bill is ready, I log in. It's that easy now."

Lean on a professional to choose the right LED option for installation

You'll still find metal halide lighting in warehouses and other commercial and industrial facilities across B.C., but LED technology now outperforms high-intensity discharges lamps in every way. BC Hydro offers incentives for LED replacement of select HID lighting.

To learn more, check out BC Hydro's energy saving incentives for business or call the Business Helpdesk. Dial 604 522 4713 from Greater Vancouver or 1 866 522 4713 from elsewhere in the province.