ABB sees two-year payback on retrofit of lights in New Berlin facility

ABB New Berlin modifies all office fluorescent fixtures – more than 927 units in all – with electronic ballasts and more economical T8 fluorescent bulbs, earning the company a $7,400 energy rebate from the local utility, and $12,000 in ongoing annual energy savings.


New Berlin, WI – In 2007, ABB’s global sustainability team requested that each ABB location reduce its energy consumption by 5%. “After doing research and finding that 40% of all fossil fuels are used to generate electricity, it seemed like lighting, which we cannot be without, was the logical place to start,” noted Jerry Ulatowski, facilities manager. ABB New Berlin began by modifying all of the office fluorescent fixtures – more than 927 units in all – with electronic ballasts and more economical T8 fluorescent bulbs. This earned the company a $7,400 energy rebate from the localutility, and resulted in $12,000 annual savings, which are ongoing.
After the process of reviewing, planning, and bidding, an extensive plan was approved to replace all the lights in the factory. It was decided that the lights would be installed during third shift, to eliminate

New lighting in center bay saves energy at drives factory in New Berlin facility. Source: ABB.

New lighting in center bay saves energy at drives factory in New Berlin facility. Source: ABB.

any impact on production. Duane Gaglione, manager and lead for a third-party electrical contractor, Pieper Electric, and his team of five employees, would take on the challenge of replacing each of the 350 lights over a period of 7 days, installing up to 50 lights per night.
The traditional lights, known as metal halide, were over 25 years old and were original to the building. Due to their dome shape, they had uneven light distribution, which created hot-spots, glare, and harsh shadows. In addition, their magnetic components would expand and contract over time, causing a loud, continuous buzzing sound. The new light fixtures, known as linear fluorescents, include six bulbs– 54 Watts each. These lights provide more ambient light, which is distributed evenly, and eliminates the disadvantages of halide fixtures. In addition, the components are controlled electronically, which eliminates any chance of buzzing.
However, the clearest benefit of all is cost savings, both realized and unrealized. The retrofit achieves $23,300 in energy savings per year– an 18% reduction in the energy used to power factory lights. And each light fixture carries with it a $90 rebate from local energy supplier Wisconsin Electric Company; in total, ABB New Berlin will receive a $21,800 rebate, once the installation is complete.
These energy savings, plus rebate, calculates to a payback period of two years. In total, New Berlin, to date is realizing more than 25 percent in energy savings ($35,300) per year, $29,200 in rebates, and the reduction of 193 tons of CO 2 per year.
Additionally, unrealized savings include cooling-cost savings, due to the reduction of heat produced by the fixtures, reduction of peak-demand surcharges, and reduction in maintenance costs. Actual energy savings for the factory will be known, as utility bills arrive following completion of the retrofit.
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