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At work and play, lighting leads the way

Posted in Energy conservation, Lighting on October 24th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off


Photo of metal halide lighting at WRAC

Before: Metal halide lamps in two Wenatchee Racquet and Athletic Club tennis courts used 19,980 watts per court.

Photo of new fluorescent lighting at WRAC

After: New T5 fluorescent lighting uses just 8,420 watts per court.

WRAC tennis courts ace an upgrade

Muffed serves or missed shots on the indoor tennis courts at the Wenatchee Racquet and Athletic Club (WRAC) can’t be blamed on poor lighting anymore. The 37 noisy, dim metal halide light fixtures previously used on two of the indoor tennis courts have been replaced with quiet, bright, instant-on T5 fluorescent light fixtures.

Manager Evy Gillin said the old lamps required long warm-up times and had to be left on constantly when the club was open. The new fluorescents provide bright light instantly and are on switches that can be operated at the club’s front desk.

On the other two courts, the original lighting system with 44 outdated, eight-lamp T12 fluorescent fixtures has also been replaced with 32 six-lamp T5 fixtures, emitting far greater light levels.

Energy savings from installing fluorescents and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) at the tennis and racquetball courts, at the club’s outdoor pool and in the club building are estimated at 362,618 kilowatt hours per year, enough to power 16 Chelan County homes. The WRAC received $43,602 from Chelan PUD’s Resource$mart program to help offset its total cost of $64,293.

WRAC member Brian Wengreen, a retired PUD engineer, volunteered to coordinate this project with help from more than 40 member volunteers. Their volunteer labor made the project affordable for the club, Gillin said. Key to those efforts were Brian Gundersen, Dick Lester, Randy Smith, Ted Brisbine of Brisbine Electric and retired electrician Heinz Schlipf.

One more project is planned to complete relighting the entire club.


Stemilt upgrade is a fruitful endeavor

Photo of apple storage at Stemilt

Stemilt managers say they expect to quickly recoup their investment in new energy-efficient lighting through lower electric bills at their processing/packing/shipping plant on Euclid Avenue in Wenatchee.

“I can see clearly now” is the song employees are singing at the Stemilt processing plant on Euclid Avenue in Wenatchee after lighting was upgraded in over 300,000 square feet of space.

OK, they’re not really singing, and you couldn’t hear it over the hum of forklifts and conveyor belts if they were. But Steve Frodsham, the fruit processor’s electrical administrator, says employees love the new lighting at the sprawling plant where apples, pears and cherries are received, processed, stored and shipped.

Energy-efficient LEDs on motion sensors now illuminate many of the cold storage rooms, providing immediate light when someone enters. Frodsham said he knew it was time to replace the plant’s numerous metal halide lights, so he tested fluorescents before moving to LEDs. But even the most modern fluorescent tube lamps failed to come on quickly enough to light rooms for forklift drivers as they moved in and out. Cold was a factor, he said, since most of the 100-plus storage units are kept at a chilly 32 degrees. (LED lights love the cold. They last longer and are brighter.)

Fluorescent lights are being used above packing lines, in hallways and elsewhere, though, and they’re a big improvement, Frodsham said.

Beckstead Electric of Wenatchee installed the lighting. Jim White, Chelan PUD engineer, arranged funding from the PUD and documented energy savings.

Photo of Steve Frodsham

Steve Frodsham

White said 1,400 light fixtures were retrofitted or replaced at a cost of $605,704. Chelan PUD’s Resource$mart program provided $435,048 of the cost. Projected annual savings is 2,900,000 kilowatt hours — enough to power 145 homes.

“This is an old facility,” Frodsham said. “A general lighting concept was never part of its evolution. When Jim and Beckstead (Electric) came in we were able to engineer it to suit our needs. A lot of areas that didn’t have sufficient light are now well-lit.

“Lighting makes a big difference in how people feel and how they perform,” he added. “We couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”

Photo of Stemilt packing line

A packing line at Stemilt’s Euclid Avenue plant is illuminated by new fluorescent lighting. Chelan PUD’s Resource$mart program helps pay for energy-efficient upgrades at local businesses.


Now that’s a lot of power

Posted in Energy conservation on July 23rd, 2013 by Susan – Comments Off
Photo of Senior Engineer Jim White

Jim White, senior engineer for Chelan County PUD

PUD’s energy-saving program highlighted in regional magazine

Industrial customers working with Chelan PUD engineer Jim White have saved enough energy over the past three years to power 1,700 Chelan County homes.

White and his work with fruit warehouses is highlighted in an article in the July issue of the Northwest Public Power Association Bulletin. The story focuses on Stemilt Growers of Wenatchee. With guidance from White and funding from Chelan County PUD, Stemilt trimmed energy consumption at its largest fruit packing facility, the Olds Station plant just north of Wenatchee, by 30 percent, for $167,000 in annual savings.

White is Chelan PUD’s senior (and only) energy conservation engineer. He created and coordinates the utility’s Resource$mart program, which is essentially a rebate program. Under Resource$mart, industrial customers can receive up to 15 cents per annual kilowatt-hour saved or 75 percent of the total cost to purchase and install energy efficiency improvements, whichever is less. Commercial customers also participate in Resource$mart but at lower incentive levels of 6 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity saved.

In addition to providing significant cost savings to industrial and commercial customers, Resource$mart helps the PUD meet conservation targets set under the state Energy Independence Act.

White can be reached at (509) 661-4829 or email  Read the article, and learn more about Resource$mart.

Stemilt earns governor’s energy efficiency award

Posted in Energy conservation on December 6th, 2012 by Susan – Comments Off


Photo of Stemilt monitors

Chelan PUD Engineer Jim White records data from monitors at Stemilt Growers' Olds Station plant to compare energy use from month to month.

Stemilt Growers has earned the Governor’s Award for Leadership in Energy Performance  for greatly reducing its energy use with help from Chelan PUD.

Washington state Governor Chris Gregoire  presented the award at the state Capitol on Wednesday, Dec. 5.  Tate Mathison, sales team leader, and Monty Leavitt, refrigeration manager, accepted the award for Stemilt.

Over the past two years, Stemilt reduced energy consumption at its largest fruit packing facility, Olds Station in Wenatchee, by 30 percent. Energy use at the facility is dominated by industrial refrigeration and controlled atmosphere equipment used to keep fruit fresh until it can be processed and shipped. Stemilt made efficiency improvements by reducing the speed of  industrial refrigeration fans and installing CO2 scrubbers to control the atmosphere in storage rooms.

Controls on refrigeration fans can slow the speed of the fans by as much as 50 percent, thereby improving efficiency. Fan speeds are adjusted regularly based on the demand for refrigeration in each storage area.

CO2 scrubbers helps control the amount of CO2 inside fruit storage rooms (apples release CO2 as they are stored). NASA developed CO2 scrubbers in the 1960s for the Apollo space program to keep CO2 exhaled by astronauts from reaching high levels in the space capsule. These scrubbers lower carbon dioxide levels, which significantly reduces Stemilt’s reliance on nitrogen, the traditional way CO2 was purged from rooms.

Together, these improvements helped Stemilt realize energy savings of 8,770,190 kWh per year, which equates to $167,000 in utility costs annually and is enough energy to power about 400 all-electric homes in Chelan County.

The conservation projects were made possible through the PUD’s Resource$mart program. Jim White, senior energy conservation engineer, oversees the program and helps companies like Stemilt find and fund projects that save energy.

“This kind of project helps everyone,” said White. “The customers save money, local jobs are created installing the equipment, and Chelan County PUD has more clean, renewable hydropower that it can sell to others. We hope Stemilt’s success will encourage other local businesses to take advantage of the services we offer to help find energy savings.”

These two Stemilt projects cost a combined $1 million, of which $625,000 was paid through rebates from the PUD. Washington State University also paid $50,000 on the variable frequency drive project through its own energy dollars.

Beyond funding, Chelan County PUD’s expertise in energy conservation has enabled Stemilt to see these and other projects to fruition over the past 12 years.