Through a contractor, Clean Harbors won an award this summer organized by the Department of Energy for work in installing efficient lighting at its San Jose Hub facility.
Clean Harbors Facility General Manager William Bluhm hired Sustainable Technologies to retrofit his 30,000-square-foot transfer hub warehouse with LED and motion sensor lights.
The upgrades are expected to save 11,000 kilowatt hours annually - a 74 percent energy reduction compared to previous usage. Sustainable Technologies estimates the new lights will last a decade or more and lead to more than $200,000 in electrical cost savings over that time.
The work led to recognition by the Interior Lighting Campaign. Clean Harbors and Sustainable Technologies were presented the 2016 award for 'Highest Percentage of Annual Savings for Troffer Lighting Retrofits - Medium Project' at the Building Owners and Management Association (BOMA) International Conference in Washington, D.C.
Bluhm took advantage of a California rebate program in which utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) pays for the installs up front through a no-interest loan. Clean Harbors continues to pay traditional electric costs initially - using the energy cost savings it receives to pay off the loan.
"At the end of the loan, 18 months or thereabouts, I'll see the actual savings," he said.
The state program is fairly new, Bluhm said, with PG&E trying to get more companies on board. While installations at the facility lasted just a few weeks in April, it took a full year to put together agreements and contracts - time, however, that turned out to be well worth it.
"It was a very good opportunity for PG&E to save on electricity, as well as for me to save some money and for the contractor," said Bluhm.
Beyond the cost reduction was the commitment to making the facility more green.
"The financials themselves, you wouldn't see for a while," Bluhm said. "Some of the overriding concerns at this point were to get savings environmentally - get these new lights in to make it a much more efficient option there."