By Anne Cosgrove
Published in the November 2006 issue of Today’s Facility Manager
A facility-wide relamping, coupled with occupancy sensors, has reduced energy consumption in one of Baxter Healthcare Corporation’s manufacturing facilities. Larry Funke, director of energy engineering, describes the project and reviews the results so far.
What is your position? How many years have you been in the facility management profession?
I am the director of energy engineering for Baxter Healthcare Corporation. I have been in the facility management profession for 21 years.
Please give a brief description of the facility involved in this project.
Baxter’s North Cove manufacturing facility is located just north of Marion, NC. At 1.4 million square feet and employing 2,200 employees, it is Baxter’s largest manufacturing facility.
What defines the green philosophy your organization would like to convey?
Every day, Baxter helps people live healthier lives, equips health care professionals to provide better, more effective treatment, and enables our employees to make a meaningful difference in their communities.
Equally important to us is how our company works. This includes the behaviors that we demonstrate, the economic contributions we make, and the environmental footprint we leave behind, as well as the values that drive our decision making each day. At Baxter, we believe we have a responsibility to balance the needs of today with those of tomorrow. This means we conduct our operations in a manner that minimizes the use of natural resources and our impact on the environment. By achieving this sustainable balance, we are able to help change the world for the better.
Why was the decision made to pursue this project for the facility?
The lighting system in the North Cove facility was very good at the time when it was built in the mid-1970s. And through the years, much of the lighting there had been upgraded from T12 fluorescent tubes to high pressure sodium, metal halide, and electronic ballast retrofits, which resulted in energy use reductions.
We have always worked to keep on track with the best technology available. To that end, we conduct lighting studies every other year to determine if we might benefit from new technology in terms of energy conservation and cost control.
In October 2005, we made the decision to pursue another lighting upgrade. We knew that current lighting technologies offered increased energy efficiency along with better lighting quality. Additionally, the cost of energy had risen to the level that made the project financially viable. Because we conduct the lighting studies on a regular basis, we were able to begin installation in December 2005.
The upgrade involved replacing any remaining T12 fluorescent tubes, as well as the high pressure sodium and metal halide fixtures, with more efficient T8 fluorescent tubes. In most cases, the upgrade allowed for a single four tube T8 fixture to replace nine single tube T12 fixtures, which increased lighting levels at a reduced wattage. Occupancy sensors were also installed.
As a result, we were able to reduce the number of lamp fixtures, improve control of when and how the lighting is switched on and off, and enhance the quality of light with less energy consumption.
Please describe the decision making and research process for this project.
We are constantly monitoring new and developing technologies that may have potential use in Baxter facilities. Also, by learning about new lighting technologies through presentations, conferences, and lighting specialists, we were able to determine the needs of the facility. For example, we specified varying styles and types of light fixtures for different areas of the facility such as manufacturing, offices, and the warehouse.
What was the vendor selection process like? Did you feel limited?
We were fortunate in that there are many lighting professionals available from which to select. After reviewing our lighting surveys and recommendations from vendors, we selected a company we had worked with previously in the Chicago area.
What energy saving benefits have you reaped as a result of this project?
According to savings measured since December 2005, we are on target to save 4.2 million kilowatt hours per year, when compared to the previous year.
What economic benefits have you achieved as a result of this project?
At current electricity rates, we are saving $185,000 per year. This will obviously increase if electricity rates continue to rise.
Were operations in the facility affected during the lighting installation?
One of the benefits of working with the chosen vendor was that there was minimum interference in the operation of the facility. We collaborated to determine the best times for the company to conduct the work.
What has been the reaction to the project inside your organization?
Senior management is very pleased with the improvement in lighting quality, the decrease in energy usage, and the increase in cost savings. However, the most noticeable benefit was the improved productivity of the workforce. Case studies have shown that the right lighting creates a better working environment and happier employees, thus increasing productivity.
What was the most professionally rewarding aspect of this project?
Although we had improved lighting in some of Baxter’s smaller facilities, North Cove was the largest project to date. Its impact on employees’ well being and the financial bottom line of the facility will serve as a model when considering future lighting upgrades.
Questions about this project can be sent to [email protected] and will be forwarded to Larry Funke. To share your case study, send an e-mail to [email protected]. Discuss this topic in real time at facilityexecutive.com/FacilityBlog.