Food Services Of America Puts Energy Costs In The Deep Freeze

Lighting efficiency project saves energy and improves productivity.

Portland, OR: Food Services of America, a national foodservice distribution company, was spending thousands of dollars per year to light, cool and operate its 420,000-square-foot distribution warehouse in Woodburn, OR.

More than 450 employees were using plenty of energy to run computers, light production areas and cool the warehouse. In particular, the outdated 400-watt metal halide and T12 fixtures located throughout the building produced so much heat that the cooling systems had to use more energy to keep the freezer and food storage areas at the proper temperature.

Like many other businesses in today’s economy, FSA began looking for ways to save energy and reduce operating costs. With help from Energy Trust of Oregon trade ally contractor Eoff Electric Supply, FSA found that a major lighting improvement was the right investment to deliver the long-term cost savings and short payback period the company needed.

FSA replaced 379 fixtures in its freezer, dry storage, truck shop, maintenance and beverage areas with 373 energy-efficient T5 lamp fixtures to help reduce energy use.

According to David Gattuccio, FSA facilities manager, employees noticed the change immediately. “The quality of the light and the color rendering is a huge improvement,” says Gattuccio. “Because the light is better, our employees are doing their job more efficiently. And since the new lighting needs less energy, the refrigeration system isn’t working as hard to keep things cool.”

The improvements are estimated to save more than 650,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year and save over $45,000 in annual utility costs. Energy Trust provided FSA with $52,491 in cash incentives toward the total project cost of $130,500.

The incentive was a main factor in FSA’s decision to make the investment. “We talked about whether we should spend the money now or save and do it next year,” says Gattuccio. “We realized we were spending money on utility bills that we could be saving — and we decided that we couldn’t afford to wait. Any time we can reduce our carbon footprint and save energy that is what we want to do.”

FSA’s investment in energy-efficiency solutions is part of a corporate-wide commitment to sustainability. With Oregon as a leader in the nationwide chain’s sustainability initiative, the Portland branch of FSA is the first broadline distributor in the nation that has been certified by the Food Alliance for sustainable business practices.

FSA recently completed a Kaizen Blitz study with Energy Trust and Program Delivery Contractor Portland General Electric Customer Technical Services to find no- and low-cost ways to save energy throughout its facility. The company is starting to implement recommendations from the study that could save up to an additional 1.5 million kWh.

Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and tapping renewable resources. Our services, cash incentives and energy solutions have helped participating customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas save nearly $600 million on energy bills. Our work helps keep energy costs as low as possible, creates jobs and builds a sustainable energy future. Learn more at or call 1-866-368-7878.