Every operator of a cold storage facility is aware of how important it is to control energy consumption—it’s the second highest cost behind labor. And, costs are on the rise. According to the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW), since 2006, the average plant’s utilities costs in North America have risen by about 30 percent.
While there are multiple ways to improve a facility’s energy efficiency, advancements in lighting technology have been gathering more interest lately, in part because the investment is relatively affordable when you consider the immediate and substantial ROI that results from an improved lighting system.
UK fruit importer looks to Dialight
MMD Shipping is one of the largest importers of fresh fruit in the UK. Its facility at the City of Portsmouth handles approximately 60 percent of all bananas imported into the UK. The company operates a 12-warehouse facility that receives and distributes many varieties of fresh fruit to the British market.
Over the past year, MMD Shipping has experienced a nearly 20 percent hike in its energy rates, and it was bracing for another 10-15 percent increase. During construction of its most recent warehouse, MMD Shipping began looking at LED products, as well as induction and fluorescent options, for its lighting.
It worked with Elite Renewables, an authorized distributor and installation contractor for Dialight, to test Dialight’s LED products. The installation of High Bay fixtures, even at a ceiling mount height of nearly 40 feet, delivered up to 320 lux on the floor.
MMD Shipping was convinced. The company installed 134 Dialight 150W High Bays in the cold storage area and an additional 16 Low Bay units in the indoor and outdoor loading bay areas.
The upgraded lighting system provided plenty of clear, crisp light, and an unexpected benefit. Due to the LED’s superior performance in cold environments, the fixtures in the cold storage actually delivered more than the advertised lumen output because of the ambient temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
Each Dialight fixture is also linked to occupancy sensors to illuminate the area only when needed. Instead of the 24/7 burn time common with other conventional lighting systems, the fixtures are on only about 30 percent of the time. This feature alone delivers considerable energy savings compared to typical metal halide or high-pressure sodium fixtures and also extends the life span of the fixture itself beyond its warranted 5-year period.
“We have been extremely pleased with the energy savings and reduced operating cost we’ve seen with the new Dialight fixtures in the cold storage facility,” says Tim Schofield, MMD Shipping’s financial controller. “In fact, we’ve been so impressed with the performance and warranty that we’ve begun retrofitting nearly all of our other facilities to Dialight LEDs to improve efficiency, lighting efficacy, and safety throughout our operations.”
MMD Shipping also reports that the reduced heat output of the LEDs has helped improve temperature maintenance in the banana facility, and the lights themselves are virtually maintenance free. The company also qualified for a 20 percent tax break from the British government.
“I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t go LED,” says Schofield. “Between the energy and maintenance savings, and the tax incentives, the switch to LED fittings was a no brainer.”
Cutting energy use at Maines
It’s pretty remarkable when a lighting system can result in an 87 percent reduction in energy use, yet those results were achieved when New York-based Maines Paper and Food Service, Inc. turned to Digital Lumens.
Maines decided upon the Intelligent Lighting System from Digital Lumens, which is specifically designed for demanding industrial applications. The Intelligent Lighting System integrates high intensity LEDs, sensing, networking, and software-based intelligence into a single system that maximizes light delivery and minimizes energy use.