Today, we announced our first customer, Maines Paper & Food Services in Conklin, NY. Maines has deployed the Digital Lumens Intelligent Lighting Solution throughout its 460,000 square foot distribution center, resulting in an 87% reduction in lighting energy cost and 15% of overall energy costs. This is the equivalent of doing an energy retrofit of every house in Conklin….
I have said it before – energy efficiency at scale is an absolute imperative for the nation. Residential energy efficiency gets the lion’s share of attention, but I submit that prioritizing industrial facilities would be the better move. Think large facilities – warehouses, distribution hubs, manufacturing centers – with very large monthly energy bills. While somewhat invisible to those not in the business, this vast network of warehouses and distribution centers that crisscrosses the country represents a major opportunity to shed kWh load. Here is why industrial sector must be cut to the front of the energy efficiency line: alignment and savings potential.
First, there is complete alignment between the electricity supplier’s and customer’s interests. Both want to reduce energy use, albeit for different reasons. Utilities need to reduce load to accommodate growing demand without building additional capacity – an expensive and very unpopular prospect since no one really wants a shiny coal-burning or nuclear power plant in their back yard. And, large industrial entities with seven-figure energy bills want to insulate themselves from rising energy prices to remain competitive while making progress on their sustainability programs.
Maines’ major lighting retrofit using Digital Lumens is the perfect example. A thriving distributor dramatically reduced kWh consumption, improved light levels and made further progress toward sustainability goals. Based on annualized data, Maines expects to reduce lighting-related energy use by 87% per year — saving 1,726,108 kWh and 1,240 metric tons of CO2. Per year. Those are just direct lighting savings; they do not factor in the additional savings from the cooler-running, energy-efficient lights, which, in turn, reduce the load on the chiller systems for the fresh fruit, refrigerated meats, and frozen ice cream. The utility, meanwhile, has reduced demand from this particular customer.
I am not suggesting that we ignore residential energy efficiency, but merely pointing out that the industrial sector represents tremendous opportunity for massive energy reductions that should not be overlooked.