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Industrial Facilities Save with Sustainable Technology Applications

Incorporating energy efficient technologies and systems into buildings is no longer just marketing propaganda, but also a good business decision.

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Efficiency at the Industrial Scale: Real World Examples


“Going green” used to be a phrase used primarily by marketing departments to position their respective businesses as good corporate citizens. With increasingly strict energy regulations on the horizon, incorporating energy efficient technologies and systems into buildings is no longer just marketing propaganda, but also a good business decision.


While green technologies and systems are appealing from a public relations standpoint, the expense to purchase and install these items can appear, at first blush, cost-prohibitive. But, more and more, building owners see the value in increasing energy efficiency and have the energy and cost savings to prove it.


Great Ideas Circulate With the Air at Big Ass Fans


BAF-RD-facility-interior3Big Ass Fans/Lexington, Ky.


Like Big Ass Fans, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., whose new 45,000 square-foot research and development facility—designed by Gray and built by WS Construction, a Gray company—has saved the company thousands of dollars in energy costs. What’s unique about this company’s approach to energy efficiency is that it used its own products and technologies creatively to reduce energy consumption.


“Essentially, we wanted to use our fans to the maximum extent that we could for the circulation within the building and we did some custom work for ventilation which isn’t a typical application for the fans,” said Paul Lauritzen, senior director of special projects for Big Ass Fans.


The company’s 40,000 square-foot testing area, where the fans were installed for ventilation and air flow, is not air-conditioned; but remains a comfortable temperature throughout the year, even on the hottest of days.


By using its own fan technology, combined with other energy reduction strategies, Big Ass Fans achieved LEED® Gold certification for its R&D facility. An outstanding achievement, yes, but the effect improved energy efficiency is having on its bottom line is just as impressive. Lauritzen says that, over a two-year period of time, Big Ass Fans has realized a 35 percent energy cost savings.


A Refreshing, Long-Term Energy View at Nestlé Waters Facility


Another Gray customer that has quickly realized cost savings due to improved energy efficiency is Nestlé Waters North America, whose 519,720 square-foot drinking water bottling and distribution facility in Dallas, Texas was completed in January of 2008 and has since realized a 15.6 percent reduction in energy consumption per year. Twenty-five percent of the plant’s power is provided by a renewable energy source.


Nestle_Waters_Dallas_TX_048Nestlé Waters North America/Dallas,Texas


“We had a commitment from our management to spend additional money to make the building a high-energy efficient or a LEED-certified building,” said Nghia Tran, Nestlé Waters’ senior design manager of facilities. “Initially, there is a premium for the design and construction of such a building. But over the lifetime of the building, the additional features and costs are paid back in energy savings that we realize for the project.”


USPS: Energy Audits, Progression Policies Save 1.6 Trillion BTUs


The United States Postal Service (USPS) has a very aggressive energy efficiency program that is utilized throughout the organization and is arguably one of the best in the nation. A long-time Gray customer, the USPS has repeatedly exceeded federal energy regulations on its new construction projects and has a proven track-record of reducing energy consumption while saving money.


“The Postal Service is proud of our energy leadership in pushing the envelope of cost effective sustainable technologies – placing us at the forefront of green initiatives”, said Jennifer Beiro-Réveillé, manager of the Facilities Energy Program for the United States Postal Service.


Since 2007, energy conservation projects have reduced the Postal Service’s energy consumption by an astounding 1.6 trillion BTUs and have saved $39.4 million in utility costs. “We have a vast portfolio of over 33,000 facilities and the bulk of our capital budget is dedicated, at this point, to repair and alterations projects,” said Beiro-Réveillé. “Our energy audits continue to identify significant opportunities to remove energy inefficient lighting and HVAC technologies, and install cost effective, sustainable solutions. We have also been ‘cautiously aggressive’ in pursuing solar and wind alternative energy sources that provide cost effective opportunities for reducing the carbon footprint of the Postal Service.”


August 05, 2011

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a contributing author and not necessarily Gray.

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