Advocating environmental stewardship and conservation has been viewed almost exclusively in the last century as a purely environmental or ecological issue, but that outdated mode of thinking is being surpassed by businesses across the world. These companies realize that in many instances, protecting the environment also strengthens the company’s bottom line.

At AK Industries, we manufacture products that protect the environment from harmful wastewater, so it makes sense that we should pursue sustainability in our business practices, not just the products we manufacture. We decided to reduce our carbon emissions while increasing our cash flow and profitability, and the best part is that it saves our customers money by keeping costs low and our products more competitive in the global market.

Energizing Indiana is an energy-efficiency rebate program offered in our home state of Indiana. With their help, AK Industries implemented an energy efficiency lighting replacement project spanning across all 250,000 square feet of manufacturing space. We decided to utilize our rebate program and go with replacing 268 of our lights. Some lights were not replaceable since they needed to be explosion-proof, which was much more difficult and cost-prohibitive to acquire.

We were running old, high bay, metal halide lights for the factory floor, and we used the inefficient T8 four 4’ lamps in our office. Both of these styles of lights were subpar in terms of lumens as well as very costly to run. To summarize, we replaced low quality and expensive lights with much cheaper and brighter lights. A true “win-win” situation, which is a rare occurrence in business today.

So let’s take a look at the numbers and see how much we saved by replacing outdated technology with energy efficient lighting. We replaced 268 lights in total. The 400W metal halide lamps were replaced with high bay fluorescent lights that ran on 54W, a savings of 404 watts per light or an 88% reduction in energy consumption. The 1000W metal halide lamps were replaced with 585W fluorescent lights, which comes to a 45% reduction in energy consumption. We replaced our office lights running 178W with lamps that run on only 25W, an 85% reduction in energy consumption.

According to the EPA’s carbon emissions calculator, the amount of CO2 we’re saving from replacing out lights is saving the planet 228 metric tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of 25,710 gallons of gasoline not consumed, 245,420 lbs of coal not burned, and 531 barrels of oil not consumed. In other terms, we reduced our emissions by as much as 187 acres of mature forests in the US sequester carbon. We are definitely proud of reducing our pollution since our products reduce pollution in the environment.

 In order to calculate the financial savings, we counted the total number of lights replaced, calculated their energy consumption based on hours of operation and wattage and multiplied that by the local cost of kWh. Between our office buildings and manufacturing space, in one week, the lights would run for over 335 hours.  In total we saved 331,355 kWh, or about 21% of our total energy bill for the entire company. Because of these lights, we’re saving over $42,000 in energy bills annually, which is going to satisfy cash flow demand, our bottom line, and ultimately save our customers money as we pass the savings along to become more competitive.