Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sigma-Aldrich Corp. lights up energy savings

The Sigma-Aldrich Corp. complex in Milwaukee is one of the corporation’s largest energy users. An internal energy team -- facilities manager, maintenance supervisor and project engineer -- developed a three-year plan in 2008 to improve energy efficiency at the complex. Since then, the company has saved more than $250,000, primarily by replacing 99 percent of the facility's lighting.

Illuminating process
Edward Niemiec, CEM facilities manager and key member of the Milwaukee facility energy team, says that Sigma-Aldrich uses a straightforward approach to identifying and implementing energy efficiency projects. "The project must accomplish four things to be considered," said Niemiec. "It must increase energy efficiency, reduce maintenance, improve quality and meet our return-on-investment hurdle rate."

Focus on Energy incentives
All of Sigma-Aldrich's projects in the past three years received Focus on Energy financial incentives. Focus on Energy -- Wisconsin's statewide program for energy efficiency and renewable energy -- helps Wisconsin residents and businesses manage energy costs, promotes in-state economic development, protects the environment and controls the state's electricity and natural gas demand through cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

We Energies assistance
To help Sigma-Aldrich and other business customers that use the most energy, we have an account management organization at We Energies. Account managers conduct joint planning sessions and provide ongoing support for a company's energy needs. "Without the monetary assistance that Focus on Energy provided to meet our ROI threshold and the support and practical energy advice we receive from We Energies, none of these projects would have been completed," said Niemiec. "We are grateful for all their assistance."

New lighting technologyInduction lighting for Sigma-Adrich's outdoor and key production facility areas is responsible for the company's energy savings. Induction lighting is the result of electronically excited mercury vapor emitting short-wave ultraviolet light that excites the bulb's phosphors inside the bulb. The fixtures have a 100,000-hour-rated life due to the lack of electrodes inside the glass tube, which means a practically maintenance-free system.

Project specfics Prior to project implementation, small-scale testing provided the needed proof that the lighting levels improved enough to warrant the project. Improvements ranged from 20 to 30 percent. Sigma-Aldrich worked with Energy Efficient Solutions, Stay-Lite Lighting and Fairway Lighting for full implementation to achieve energy savings of 50 to 60 percent. The projects included: Outdoor lighting replacements and retrofits of 200 metal-halide parking and wall-pack lamps with 70- to 200-watt induction lamps.
  • Production facility retrofits of 247 240-watt metal-halide lamps with 100-watt induction lamps.
  • High-bay warehouse area retrofits of 78 460-watt metal-halide lamps with 165-watt induction lamps and 18 210-watt metal-halide lamps were retrofitted with 55-watt induction lamps.
  • Interior walkway retrofits of 20 210-watt metal-halide lamps with 70-watt induction lamps.

Other projects
In addition to the induction lighting projects, the team installed variable-frequency drives on air handling equipment and pumps, re-lamped 1,000, 32-watt T8 fluorescent lamps with 28-watt T8 lamps, installed occupancy and day lighting controls, outdoor resets on boilers and nighttime setbacks for heating and cooling systems.

Combined, the projects at the Milwaukee facility are at the forefront of Sigma-Aldrich's corporate energy efficiency efforts.

Sigma-Aldrich website

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