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Lighting upgrades at Portland facility have big impact

Columbia Steel receives Orion Energy Award 2014

New fixtures result in a reduction of 844,855 kilowatt hours annually.

Facilities Director Chris Horn (pictured above at right) accepts the Orion Environmental Stewardship Award from Tommy Allen of Pacific Energy Concepts. Our extensive on-site lighting replacement project in 2014 — including updates with modern fluorescent bulbs, motion control, and exterior fixtures — resulted in an annual 844,855 kilowatt hour reduction, and and annual carbon dioxide reduction of 514 tons.

Shine a light on it: Q & A about the upgrade

The new lighting is smaller, brighter, and more energy efficient — Chris Horn, Columbia Steel Facilities Director, shares some information about the change over.

Q: Why the switch?

A: The upgrades to the lighting will have greater energy savings, and some styles of lighting are being phased out by manufacturers. The older larger tube fluorescent bulbs are going to become an obsolete product, and the smaller tubes are more efficient.

Q: How were the types of fixtures selected?

A: We used Pacific Energy Concepts as a consulting company to help us get the right fixtures for the right locations. They also know more about energy credits and tax rebates for this sort of project. So PEC worked with PacifiCorp (our power supplier) as well as with Energy Trust of Oregon on this project. EC will be providing the installations for the switch over.

Q: How many fixtures were replaced throughout the facility?

A: Over 800 individual fixtures.

Q: How long will it take?

A: We hope to be done in about a month. The total hours budgeted to this project was 840. We expect to save about 572,303 kilowatt hours annually.

Chris adds that modernization and efficiencies like this project are “one aspect of a larger facility wide upgrade program that will span the next 5 years.” Examples for the coming year include a new gas analyzer, CNC pattern router, digital scanner for inspection and engineering departments, and furnace control upgrades among many others. The investment is necessary for us to be competitive in the global market for decades to come.

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