New Warehouse Lighting System Runs Stronger and Cooler


Mitsubishi-Caterpillar's (MCFA) workforce of nearly 900 manufactures and distributes material handling equipment and parts from its 42-acre headquarters, which includes 689,651 sq. ft. of office and manufacturing space, in Houston, Texas.

Large numbers of people and amounts of space require lots of light, and MCFA was in need of a way to increase the amount of lighting in 450,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing and warehouse space. Poor lighting in the plant was causing shadowing on the production floor, prompting the search for better lighting conditions. Not only was MCFA interested in reducing safety risks and increasing production quality standards, it also wanted to reduce electricity costs. Thus, the company knew it needed to go with newer, more efficient technology that could go beyond the traditional metal halide high-bay fixtures, which provided 20-22 foot candles of light on average.

MCFA turned to resource management firm Aqualine Resources, Inc., Waltham, Mass., for help. Aqualine conducted a comprehensive lighting survey, using a team of lighting certified (LC) professionals, to meet MCFA's criteria for a new system. It upgraded the current system to T5HO fluorescent technology. The new system also incorporates motion sensors to reduce energy consumption by turning lights off in unoccupied areas.

The system reduced lighting fixtures in the facility by 33%, provided three times more light and reduced energy costs significantly. Light levels were increased to 60-65 foot candles.

MCFA works on two shifts (18 hours per day), and Aqualine was able to complete its work between shifts so as not to disturb everyday operation.

Savings were significant. With the new system in place, MCFA was able to save 251 kW per year; 1,804,811 kWh per year; $99,264 in electricity per year; $8,147 in maintenance savings, due to the fact that the life cycle costs of the new system are less than that of the old; $14,927 in air conditioning savings, due to the fact that the new system runs much cooler than the former metal halide system. Additionally, simple payback on the cost of the installation was approximately two years.

The T5HO fluorescents were provided by Xtra-Light.

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