Westford Manufacturer Shaves 40% Off Lighting Bill

10. dubna 2013 v 8:08 |  street light
Mack Technologies, which makes circuit boards and electronics for the telecom, defense and industrial sectors, will save $50,000 a year at its headquarters thanks to one of the largest LED lighting retrofits in a manufacturing facility in New England, the company announced.

John Kovach, president of the Westford-based company, said his firm hired Bluestone Energy of Norwell to replace several thousand fluorescent bulbs with more-efficient LED fixtures.

Kovach said state and federal incentives cut the project's cost significantly and made it possible to do it sooner than the company might have otherwise.

Kovach had been researching more efficient lighting, but he thought the cost of swapping out 2,600 bulbs would be prohibitive. He said he didn't realize he could cut the cost of the investment by about 40 percent.

Through state and federal energy tax credits and a program with National Grid, Mack paid just over $200,000 for the total project instead of $325,000, Kovach said.

"We were kind of blown away by the information we came across in terms of the kind of energy savings we could realize and the impact to the environment," he said. "We probably would have done (the project) sometime over next few years, but not as soon as we did with the incentives and Bluestone."

Ryan Blair, president of Bluestone Energy, said heavy energy users pay into a fund through their electric bill that provides the incentives.

"This is not really grant money," Blair said. "Mack Technologies pays into this fund every single month when they pay their electric bill."

Blair said the project is the largest retrofit deployment of LED lighting in any manufacturing space in New England.

Bluestone's team worked from early October to mid-December, to install the new lights, accounting for about 3,000 man hours. The work largely took place during the Mack plant's second shift, where it only uses half the 130,000-square-foot facility's capacity.

Blair said the LED fixtures are warrantied for five years or 50,000 hours, won't require frequent replacement like the fluorescent lights they replaced, and through a wireless control system are are highly programmable to dim or turn off when they're not needed. Each fixture is individually programmable.

Kovach said his company is talking with Bluestone about other efficiency projects at other locations.

The company has facilities in Florida and Mexico, and its parent company, the Vermont-based Mack Group, has manufacturing facilities in Gardner, Vermont, South Carolina and North Carolina. Combined, they total more than 1 million square feet.

LED's are the third most popular form of lighting. They were developed in the late 1960′s and until recently most people were only familiar with them because of their use in certain types of billboards, such as highway construction signs, and other types of industrial uses. More recently scientists have developed ways of using them in flashlights, and have come up with several different types of energy efficient LED lights.

There are two major advantages of switching to LED's. They are much more energy efficient than almost any other type of bulb, with 7.5 watts being equivalent to a 60 watt incandescent bulb. They also last much longer than other types of bulbs- up to 50,000 hours, which means that most bulbs never have to be changed in a person's lifetime. In fact, in most of the ways they are used industrially, the other components wear out long before the LED does.

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