Mark Strong knows that for some businesses the idea that spending money can actually save money is a difficult concept to grasp.
And so when he moved into his new role as Maintenance Manager at Valiant TMS three years ago and experienced this first-hand, Strong and a group of colleagues decided to do something about it. They went on a mission to prove that investments in energy-efficient technology would result in a stronger bottom line.
For over 50 years, Valiant TMS has designed and manufactured welding and assembly systems, material handling systems, industrial parts washers, leak-test machines and final assembly systems for the automotive and aerospace industies at nine facilities in the Windsor area.
Strong says that early on, the team’s greatest challenge was to write a business case that would demonstrate how upgrading from energy-intensive sodium lighting in one of the plants to energy-efficient T5 lights could save Valiant TMS money.
“Getting the green light to proceed with that first lighting retrofit turned out to be a real watershed moment for Valiant TMS,” says Strong. “Working with EnWin Utilities, our local distribution company, we went on to do eight more lighting upgrades at our other plants. People could see good results and they started to understand how we could further our environmental commitment through energy efficiency.”
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Within a period of 14 months, Strong and the team got the thumbs-up to work on other energy projects, including: replacing the heating and air conditioning systems at two facilities; replacing the piping on the compressed air system at another facility; installing new variable frequency drive air compressors at six facilities; and adding motion sensors to washrooms, lunchrooms, first aid rooms and offices at all nine locations.
Altogether, Strong estimates these capital investments have yielded 4 million kWh in energy savings, 630 kW in demand savings and significant cost savings for Valiant TMS.
But the best result, according to Strong, is the greater proactive thinking about the value of energy efficiency.
"There’s been this amazing ripple effect. We’ve gone from only investing in energy-efficient equipment when machines break down to looking for opportunities even when machines are working. Our health and safety walk-throughs now include a lights-off program. Even our procurement policy has changed. It now requires us to look for energy-efficient options wherever possible. We didn’t expect things would change this much, but are really glad they did."