Dot Foods, the nation’s largest food industry redistributor, tackled the energy efficiency of its Burley, Idaho distribution center by investing in an LED lighting upgrade with occupancy controls. With technical support provided by their local utility, United Electric Cooperative, Dot Foods expects to save more than 216,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. In addition to reduced energy consumption and increased energy savings, Dot Foods’ Idaho facility earned an Award for Leadership in Industrial Efficiency from the Idaho Office of Energy Resources.
“This facility operates around the clock, so reducing energy consumption has been a challenge,” said Mark Gratzer, maintenance manager, Dot Foods. “LED fixtures consume less power than our old metal halides and require less maintenance. We were constantly battling burned-out bulbs and ballasts with our old fixtures. Metal halides didn’t perform well in the event of short duration power outages and could take 15 minutes to warm-up, while the LEDs reach full brightness right away.”
In their most recent lighting upgrade, Dot Foods focused on the non-temperature controlled warehouse, truck garage, and machine room areas, which total approximately 70,000 square feet. They replaced 139, 400- and 320-watt metal halide fixtures with more efficient 229- and 167-watt LEDs. Integral occupancy sensor controls were installed on LED high bays in the warehouse, and programmed to turn lights off 10 seconds after someone leaves the aisle.
“The controls are an essential part of this project,” continued Gratzer. “We set them to dim to 10 percent when the area is not in use. If someone is picking up product on aisle 14, aisle 3 doesn’t need to be fully lit. In this case, we decided that light should follow the work.”
Cash incentives from United Electric helped reduce the cost of the project and deliver a payback period of less than 1.5 years.
“The incentives are vital to getting these projects approved,” explained Gratzer. If the utility can pay roughly half the cost of the project, that drives down the payback, and makes it a no-brainer type of decision.”