Lufkin Industries completes major conservation project

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin Industries changed the way they light up their company, helping keep local residents out of the dark.

"It may be one of the largest unbudgeted projects we've ever done in this company because it's really hard to get two million dollars on a whim," Lufkin Industries Corporate Global Procurement Manager Steve Reynolds said.

Since February crews have been working to relamp Lufkin Industries' entire manufacturing plant including their corporate headquarters.

Auditors brought in by their energy provider, uncovered a huge opportunity to conserve.

"Particularly this year with the high heat problems and the demand on the system, it's critical that everyone conserve and this is just one of those huge success stories," Reynolds said.

Energy officials say when a company their size conserves, it helps stabilize the state's electric grid, which keeps the lights on for East Texans.

"When you think about the conservation efforts that this facility had during our peak load period during the summer, it was tremendous," Richard Casarez with Oncor Electric Delivery said. "Timing for this project was instrumental."

Each of the lights has a motion sensor and from about 30 feet in the air, it can detect if no one is working in the area and they'll shut off until someone walks back through.

The $2.1 million project is expected to pay for itself within the next year-and-a-half, starting with a $719,888 rebate check.

They'll see more than $700,000 in energy savings annually.

"We're certainly going to use more power in the net of that as we grow our company, but if we do that responsibly, the savings is still able to be utilized in other ways so we can buy equipment with that money, we can pay salaries to new employees," Reynolds said.

He said it's the environmentally responsible thing to do.

The company was able to decrease their yearly carbon dioxide emissions by more than 16 million pounds.

Reynolds said they're looking for similar opportunities in their other U.S. locations.

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