Simple Lighting Upgrades Save Valvoline $1.65 Million
Within the last decade, breakthroughs in lamp and ballast designs have driven significant improvements in lighting quality and efficiency. In addition to energy savings, longer-life light sources and new fixture designs can also reduce lighting system maintenance costs.
But nearly 90% of commercial buildings in the United States were constructed before 1985, and consequently, did not incorporate these technologies. But a growing number of companies are realizing long-term positive cash flow by upgrading to these systems. Compared to other building improvements, a lighting systems upgrade is a low-risk, short-payback investment that can produce up to 30% annual energy savings.
A case in point comes from Eco Engineering, a Louisville, Ky.-based energy services company that undertook the installation of new energy-efficient lighting technology in 344 Valvoline Instant Oil Change stores in 11 states. These projects will save Valvoline—a division of Ashland Oil—an estimated $1.65 million over the next 10 years.
“From a financial perspective, Valvoline will start seeing savings immediately and those savings will be significant—$165,000 annually,” says Brian Roth, Eco Engineering product manager.
Burke says Eco’s goal was to install energy-efficient lighting that would reduce utility costs by approximately 50% while maintaining or improving existing lighting conditions at each store. Eco’s engineers produced a design that called for the installation of customized reflectors. This design allows the facilities to maximize their energy savings while improving lighting in the pit areas, which enhances safety and productivity.
In all, 5,200 magnetic ballasts were replaced with electronic ballasts, which are claimed to increase fixture efficiency up to 30% by reducing ballast losses, fixture temperature and system wattage. And because they operate at cooler temperatures, they also last longer than standard magnetic ballasts.
In addition, nearly 10,000 T-12 lamps were replaced with more energy-efficient T-8 lamps. Approximately 2,400 T-8 lamps were installed into new vapor-tight fixtures to improve the lighting in the pit areas and minimize maintenance in such areas prone to high moisture levels. Lamp counts were reduced in both areas as a result of the improved light quantity created from the use of the reflectors.
“It’s very rewarding to complete a project of this magnitude. From an installation perspective, we were able to complete the installations without interrupting the day-to-day business activity at the stores. From a customer service perspective, Valvoline facilities are now safer and more productive,” says Roth.
Energy savings for the entire project in kilowatt-hours equaled 1.85 million annually. This is the equivalent environmental value of removing 263 cars from U.S. roads annually. The estimated payback for the project is just over four years, with a 20% to 25% return on investment.