It All Started With A Simple Question

(The following is a preview from the upcoming issue of The Scoop, the quarterly printed magazine for Dal-Tile and Unilin team members. The issue will be mailed to Dal-Tile and Unilin team members’ home addresses and posted in PDF format to myMohawk in April.) 

It all started with a simple question: how can we make our lighting more energy-efficient?

Back in 2012, Melbourne plant engineer Henry Ihnfeldt reached out to local electricity provider Entergy to determine if it offered a program to assist with the cost of upgrading plant lighting to more efficient technology. An Entergy representative advised that there was indeed an option for business customers to receive incentives for improving electrical efficiency in their locations.

The resulting project replaced 356 400-watt metal halide lights with T-5 fluorescent lights. The new lighting achieved an electric energy reduction of more than 271,000 kilowatt-hours (kwh) annually, and Entergy provided an incentive rebate of $27,723 to help offset the replacement cost, based on an incentive rate of $0.09 per kwh.

The incentive gets even better
The incentive rate can increase, when the customer makes more improvements. So in 2014, Ihnfeldt submitted and received approval to purchase and install a variable-frequency drive, 200-horsepower air compressor with a blower-regenerated desiccant air dryer.

The electrical usage and air consumption for the plant was tracked, yielding an initial estimated savings of 708,651 kwh annually. The energy provider delivered a one-time incentive of $120,470 (or $0.17/kwh). The final savings for the compressed air project was actually verified to be 938,953 kwh per year or $84,500.

Finally, another energy savings project was submitted and approved to install a variable frequency drive on the main boiler induced draft fan. The 125-horsepower motor is estimated to save 91,618 kwh annually or $8,246. Doing both projects raised the incentive for both to $0.19/kwh, which yielded incentives of $133,500 and $12,442 respectively.

“The total incentive received for these two projects was around $146,000, and the resulting annual savings on electricity for the next several years will be nearly $93,000,” Ihnfeldt said. “It’s a good investment for the future of our site and will help Melbourne continue to be a low-cost producer of solid hardwood flooring for our customers.”


Ihnfeldt (second from left) and Melbourne Plant Manager Tommy Adkins (at right) accept a ceremonial check from Entergy and Clearesult officials.

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