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Mitten Vinyl

Mitten received Save on Energy incentives through the Retrofit Program to install high efficiency lighting and perform an energy audit to discover additional opportunities to reduce energy costs at their vinyl siding manufacturing plant

Mitten has been manufacturing vinyl siding in Ontario for more than 50 years. One of Canada’s leading makers with annual sales of over $100 million and 19 locations across Canada with distribution in the United States, Australia, Russia and elsewhere.
“Energy is one of our major operating costs,” says Rod Robertson, Mitten’s engineering maintenance manager, “so looking for ways to keep our electricity costs under control wherever possible is a central focus of operations in our Paris (Ontario) manufacturing facility.” 
For Mitten, discovering the financial incentives offered through the Save on Energy Retrofit Program and Process & Systems upgrade incentive has been a major factor in managing their energy costs. In 2010, the aging lighting system at the 25-year-old Paris facility included high intensity discharge lamps (HID) and T-12 fluorescent lamps that needed frequent replacement. “We either had to change over the system to install energy-efficient lighting,” says Rod, “or continue to patch the existing system, which was very expensive.”
The decision was made to launch a lighting retrofit of both its production and compounding areas, replacing old, inefficient lighting fixtures with high performance T8 and T5s. Through the Save on Energy For Business programs, the company’s initial investment of $23,000 was offset by a significant $5,515 in incentives, delivered by Mitten’s local hydro company, Brant County Power. The incentives reduced the company’s payback time to two years, and resulted in demand savings of 9.65 kilowatts.

With the first lighting retrofit project successfully completed, and a good relationship established with Brant County Power, Mitten moved on to its second Save on Energy project in 2011, a comprehensive energy audit to identify additional energy efficiency opportunities. The audit revealed that Mitten would benefit from further lighting retrofits in its warehouse. Based on that recommendation, the company invested nearly $28,000 in 2012 to replace 90 inefficient fluorescent T-12 fixtures with just over 30 electronic HID lamps with 50 percent dimming capability.

“The dimmable fixtures have reduced electricity usage by almost half” says Rod. In all, this retrofit is estimated to save 17.5 kilowatts in energy, or more than 133,000 kilowatt hours per year.

The Save on Energy incentive of $7,500 reduced the payback period to a mere nine months – which made all the difference in obtaining project approval. “Without the incentive, the payback period would have been in excess of two years,” says Rod. “This would have taken the project costs over our company’s usual two-year payback limit. The approval is less certain when you pass this threshold.”

In 2013, the company began a preliminary engineering study of its energy-intensive extruder process to determine its energy use and what can be changed to conserve energy. One possibility might be to recover and reuse the heat that is currently lost when the extruders are operating; another might be to change to energy saving variable frequency drives to control the speed of some or all motors.

In addition, says Rod, “We are looking at additional retrofit opportunities for lighting and other efficiency upgrades. The incentives Mitten has received so far have been a major factor in reducing our electrical costs and we look forward to continuing to participate in the Save on Energy programs.”
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