A brighter approach to energy savings

The trend today among plant engineers is clear: Corporate social and financial responsibility is a mandate. Companies are looking to improve energy efficiency, reduce their carbon footprint, and manage recyclables and waste in the supply chain – not to mention reduce costs and streamline management processes.


The trend today among plant engineers is clear: Corporate social and financial responsibility is a mandate. Companies are looking to improve energy efficiency, reduce their carbon footprint, and manage recyclables and waste in the supply chain %%MDASSML%% not to mention reduce costs and streamline management processes.

For example, when we flip the switch to light up the places we live and work it makes a big impact on how we feel. It also makes a big impact on our environment and financial pocketbooks. Identifying areas where we can make changes that are positive to both the environment and bottom-line in these turbulent times are critical to support company mandates.

In some small ways, the kind of bulbs, the kind of fixtures, the kind of power, and the habits we keep can all add up to a very significant greening, for the environment and the bottom line.

As a global multi-industry company and one of the world’s largest corporations, ITT impacts thousands of employees, customers, product users, investors, suppliers and communities. They embrace corporate responsibility and have made an extraordinary commitment to be a positive force on a global scale.

Leading the way is the ITT Residential & Commercial Water value center in Morton Grove, IL. Recently, ITT R&CW underwent a major energy savings initiative at one of its largest manufacturing plants. At the heart of the energy savings initiative was a carefully planned lighting improvement project with a $403,000 budget.

Putting the plan together

In October of 2008, the ITT Lighting Team, including manufacturing services manager Jerry Wika, maintenance manager Stan Gorka, Value Based Lean Six Sigma manager Bill Swanson and Six Sigma Master Black Belt Chris Mah planned and executed a major re-lighting project at ITT’s 500,000 square-foot factory where they manufacture pumps, valves and controls used in hydronic and steam heating applications in commercial, industrial and residential buildings.

Critical to the efforts of the lighting team was Value Based Lean Six Sigma project. It started with recognition of the inefficiencies and waste in the old high intensity discharge lighting system.

Then, using the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) problem solving process, the company systematically approached the savings opportunity using specific data to drive each decision. The tracking of actual electricity consumption confirmed the potential impact of the project.

“We partnered with our chosen suppliers and we systematically converted 958 light fixtures into high efficiency T5 fluorescent fixtures throughout the Morton Grove facility,” Swanson said. “The work was done at night to avoid interrupting production and every removed fixture was disassembled and recycled. Unlike some other cost savings initiatives, payback on electrical consumption started as soon as the new lights were turned on.”

The lighting changes resulted in a 264kW reduction in demand and improved lighting conditions. Because they run a three-shift operation, the annual energy reduction totaled 1.75 gigawatt-hrs.

This conversion qualified for a $100,000 rebate from Commonwealth Edison, its utility company, thereby reducing the total investment to $303,000 and the payback time to just 1-

Project benefits

The identified benefits of the ITT conversion included:

  • Reduced lighting energy consumption by 47%

  • Reduced annual energy costs $287,713

  • Improved the quality of light by raising the CRI from 62 to 85

  • Provide a lighting system with instant on capabilities

  • Increased lamp life from 20,000 to 30,000 hours

    • Saving energy is not the only feature of the T5 fluorescent fixtures. In addition, the Color Rendering Index is more effective than older technology bulbs. CRI is the technical term for the way a bulb makes colors look to the human eye. The higher the CRI, the more subtle variations of the shade of color are seen. The 500K T5 fluorescent high output lights installed provided the greatest variations available.

      ITT is also planning other projects that will help reduce costs, support energy conservation efforts and decrease their ecological footprint at the Morton Grove facility.

      Replacing the existing fluorescent bulbs in the ITT plant with T5 bulbs saved money, but also brightened the plant floor in the 500,000 square foot facility.

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