Customers noticed the change -- and asked how they could do the same thing at home. Does Center sell the ballasts for the switch?
"We do now!" Anderson said enthusiastically.
He participated in the power company rebate program, and the reward was as easy to see as the now brightly lit aisles in his shop.
"We got a couple of nice little checks back from APCO. It covered a quarter of the cost of the changes. When do you get a check back from your power company?" He shows visitors two checks from Appalachian Power totaling $980. It took about a week for all of the ballasts and bulbs to be switched.
Anderson said the store is gradually switching from incandescents to LEDs in the spotlights over the paint counter and in other areas.
He now sells those bulbs as well.
Toyota sees the light
Energy-efficient cars are a top priority at Toyota Motor Manufacturing. Energy-efficient lighting is the priority for George Vickers, a specialist in environmental engineering for the Buffalo plant.
The West Virginia native has led the charge to replace the metal halide fixtures (similar to halogen) that have been in the plant since it started in 1996.
"There's nothing special about the new lights," Vickers insists, as he shows visitors the bright fluorescent fixtures that dot the ceiling of the vast plant. The fixtures are fairly old school: basic six-bulb fluorescent units. The modern twist involves more-efficient T8 bulbs and motion sensors.
"The original fixtures in the plant used a lot of energy, 440 watts," Vickers said. "Also, they had a 'strike time.' If you turned off the light, you couldn't turn it back on for a while." So between shifts, they had to leave the lights on. Now the new fixtures are on motion sensors, turning themselves off when there's no one around to need them, saving thousands of dollars in energy costs.
The T8 fluorescent tubes use 220 watts, or basically half the energy of the old metal halide fixtures.
It cost about $400,000 to change the lighting, but Vickers said he would see a full payback in less than two years from the energy cost savings and the rebate. Sun Control Inc. of Hurricane helped plan the lighting conversion.
American Electric Power is rebating $95 per light ($90 per fixture and $5 for the motion sensors). The rebate is formulated for each customer depending on the type of old lighting, new lights and other factors. Toyota will receive nearly $200,000 from AEP.
Toyota has electric meters, similar to the ones on the outside of a residence, on each line in the factory. Teams are challenged to meet energy savings goals with targets on each line.
"Not to get too philosophical, but at Toyota, we build it right the first time," Vickers said. "That's the team's opportunity to get it right and to save energy by not having to redo things."
Vickers is aware that fluorescents have mercury in them, a hazard to the environment, but he said the newer bulbs have a lower level of the element in them.
"And for home use, places like Home Depot will recycle old compact fluorescent bulbs," he added.
The process at Toyota started a year ago, and they have changed 2,000 fixtures, with 90 to go.
"The old lights are still in the places that are hardest to get to," Vickers pointed out, over the busiest and most intricate parts of the production line. As he walked through a part of the plant that was on break, the motion sensors detected his movement and lights came on to light his way. He noted that to use motion sensors, fluorescent fixtures have to have rapid-start ballasts. The sensors in the plant are programmed to turn off the lights after 20 minutes if there is no movement in the area.
Automation abounds and efficiency is key at the plant. Vickers noted that there are 450 working minutes in a day, and on that particular day they would produce 877 engines.
And it all takes place under 2,090 new light fixtures.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.