Founded in 1906, the Waukesha Engine plant in Waukesha, WI, manufactures gas engines that are used in generators, mechanical drives and field gas compressors. A subsidiary of Dresser Inc. (Addison, TX), the company also produces generators and DC switchgear controls for on-site generation of electricity.

Recently, the company upgraded the lighting system in its million-square-foot manufacturing facility and research center, with an eye toward improving work conditions and reducing energy expenditures. The resulting system, installed by lighting equipment manufacturer Orion Energy Services (Plymouth, WI), now saves the company approximately $230,000 annually. It has also made the facility a far more pleasant place to work.

“We are continually seeking ways to improve our processes to become more efficient and deliver a better product,” says Waukesha Engine vice president of manufacturing Michael Storms. “Energy is a significant cost area for us, so energy efficiency was an obvious area to look at. The new lighting system conserves energy, reduces waste, makes our plant more competitive, and creates a more comfortable and productive environment for our employees.”

In all, Orion Energy Services replaced approximately 1,700 high-intensity discharge (HID) fixtures with its own energy-efficient high-intensity fluorescent (HIF) bulbs and fixtures. The new bulbs last 50 percent longer and cost 36 percent to 63 percent less to operate, allowing Waukesha Engine to reduce is annual electricity consumption by nearly 3.2 million kilowatt-hours-the equivalent to the energy contained in 264,163 gallons of gasoline or 6,290 barrels of oil.

Total cost of the project was approximately $346,000. Factoring in $112,000 in incentives from the company’s local utility, We Energies, Waukesha Engine was able to recoup the entire cost of the upgrade in about a year.

By reducing energy use, the new lighting reduces Waukesha Engine’s carbon dioxide output by about 2,180 tons-the equivalent to removing 517 cars from the roads or planting 587 acres of trees. In addition, the system prevents approximately 4 tons of nitrogen oxides and 9 tons of sulfur dioxide-considered primary causes of acid rain-from entering the atmosphere each year.

The new bulbs generate significantly more light than their HID predecessors and feature a reflective design that focuses more of the light down toward the shop floor, instead of allowing it to scatter along the ceiling. As a result, light levels are up between 30 percent and 60 percent throughout the facility.

The new bulbs also generate far less heat, operating at 105 F, compared to the 800 F and 1,000 F temperatures generated by bulbs using HID technology. This helps keep Waukesha Engine’s employees that much more comfortable on warm summer days.

To date, Orion Energy has deployed its energy-efficient lighting systems in approximately 3,760 facilities across North America. In doing so, the company has allowed its customers to reduce their combined power usage by approximately 357 megawatts, representing some $401 million in cost savings and 3.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

For more on energy-efficient lighting, call 877-204-6852 or