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Friday | 15 October, 2010 | 6:40 am

Cutting costs

By Meghan Siroky

October 2010 -- Making eco-friendly choices makes sense for Bushwick Metals LLC, Bridgeport, Conn. Costs are down, employees are satisfied and the earth is better off. The company earned an incentive check from a local electric utility, The United Illuminating Co., New Haven, Conn. Bushwick Metals' most recent environmental effort consisted of a 25 light pipe installation, which Orion Energy Systems, Manitowoc, Wis., manufactured.

"The Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund recently presented Bushwick Metals LLC of Bridgeport, Conn., with an incentive check of $14,067 for its participation in the Energy Conscious Blueprint program," according to a press release. Rick Perlen, president of Bushwick Metals, accepted the award from The United Illuminating Co. on Aug. 3, according to John Schudy, director of operations.

"The payment was made in conjunction with one of UI's energy conservation programs. UI has these programs to encourage businesses to install energy-efficient equipment," says Barbara Pellicano, strategic account manager with The United Illuminating Co. Schudy says the award will finance the cost of the lighting system. Bushwick Metals also has made other energy-conscious efforts to reduce costs and improve overall employee satisfaction.

Green impact
The light pipe system installation consists of 25 light pipes, which provide ambient light to the warehouse. The company chose to use these dome-shaped skylights instead of conventional 400-watt metal halide fixtures. These types of fixtures reduce the need for electrical lighting during the day, and, as a result, minimize expenses. This system saves the company 33,375 kilowatts-per-hour every year, which translates to a lifetime savings of 500,625 kilowatts-per-hour. "The new light pipes will not only help to reduce expenses at Bushwick, they also have a positive impact on the environment," said Schudy in the press release. "While it was the energy reduction and environmental benefits that drove this project, we also achieved a more efficient work area. Our employees overwhelmingly prefer working under the brighter natural light, and this factor alone has increased productivity."

He mentions company employees enjoy brighter natural light. "Employee satisfaction generally increases productivity," Schudy says. "The light pipes provide a level of illumination that is superior to traditional skylights, which eliminated the need to turn on the lights in the warehouse during most daylight hours," says Pellicano.

Making the effort
Bushwick Metals also plans to purchase additional energy-saving measures to use throughout its facility. Schudy says other efforts the company has made include relocating to a different facility with rail to reduce inbound traffic, replacing a fleet of trucks with equipment that automatically shuts down after sitting idle for more than five minutes and investigating the use of solar power in future projects.

At the office level, Bushwick Metals is choosing environmentally friendly options as well. The company is looking to eliminate more documents and go paperless as much as possible. Also, the company remodeled the corporate office for improved ergonomics and added windows to the warehouse, Schudy says.

"Bushwick is always looking for improvement in all aspects of its business," he says. The company is currently reviewing green upgrades such as high-efficiency retrofit options for existing fixtures and additional light pipes for a second section of its facility. Schudy believes making environmentally conscious choices is an important aspect for companies to gain a competitive edge.

Norman E. Gottschalk Jr., president of Marmon/Keystone LLC, Butler, Pa., agrees. "Competition in the future will involve not only operating on a low-cost basis but also retaining and hiring good employees," he said in a press release. "A project like this achieves both goals. By decreasing the amount of various toxic products to the environment, we are being earth-friendly, a byproduct of thinking out of the box." MM

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