FEATURE – Lighting and HVAC retrofits at J.D. Smith and Sons reduce energy usage
By Partners in Project Green
July 25, 2012 - J.D. Smith and Sons, a distribution and logistic services provider, prides itself on its award-winning environmental record and ISO certification. In 2009 the company joined the SmartWaySM Transport Partnership, an collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the freight industry designed to increase energy efficiency, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. The partnership’s goal is to reduce 33 to 66 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and up to 2,000 tons of nitrogen oxide per year by 2012.
By Partners in Project Green
Along with initiatives designed to reduce fuel consumption in its fleet, J.D. Smith and Sons implemented a series of green facility initiatives aimed at improving energy efficiency, including electric light retrofits in three facilities, automated HVAC control systems that have reduced natural gas consumption, an energy-smart roof replacement incorporating a reflective membrane, radiant space heating in garages, white interior walls, and upgraded roof insulation.
Lighting retrofit project
In 2006, J.D. Smith and Sons conducted an energy audit of its three facilities. The audit revealed that lighting represented between 58 to 76% of hydro usage per facility (and 67% of consolidated usage across facilities). Warehouse lighting consisted of 400W high pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs and fixtures, while the office lighting was using T12 fluorescent bulbs. The company decided to do a lighting retrofit to improve energy efficiency. The retrofit involved replacing all 454 HPS fixtures in three warehouses with 6-bulb T8 fluorescent fixtures and replacing ballasts and bulbs in all 205 T12 fluorescent fixtures with T8 fixtures.
The retrofit resulted in hydro reductions between 25% and 37% per facility (overall usage reduction of 31%). According to J.D. Smith and Sons, a much broader light spectrum and more diffuse lighting improved vision in warehouses.
As a result of the retrofit, J.D. Smith and Sons reduced annual electricity consumption by 745,000kWh. With annual savings (including reduced system maintenance and bulb replacements) totalled $74,000 and a project cost of $197,000, the company achieved payback in 2.6 years.
Warehouse heaters and facility-wide HVAC control system project
J.D. Smith and Sons noted that energy efficiency opportunities likely existed in its warehouse heating and cooling systems and, in 2002, set out to examine how those systems might be improved. At J.D. Smith and Sons’ Keele Street and Basaltic Road facilities, the company said it has achieved substantial energy savings since installing automated HVAC control systems.
• Keele Street facility
Before improvements were made, J.D. Smith and Sons’ Keele Street warehouse facilities in Concord, Ont., were heated by 16 suspended unit gas-fired space heaters, each with its own thermostat. The heating was sometimes uneven and there was no temperature tracking, said J.D. Smith and Sons, adding it had recognized that with the rise in natural gas prices, significant savings could be achieved through heating reductions, particularly in the off-hours. In 2002, the individual space heater thermostats were replaced with sensor and electronic control units, and were wired and networked together along with external sensors. Web-based system access, scheduling, monitoring, adjustments and reporting capabilities were established, and user training was provided. System settings were fine tuned based on the rate of heat loss and heat gain under different external weather conditions. Space heater operating efficiency was optimized by grouping units into zones and alternating the units that fire, and the ability for employees to adjust thermostat settings was eliminated.
These changes resulted in a 54% (60,000 m3) reduction in natural gas consumption and reduced CO2 emissions by 132.1 tonnes. The annual savings resulting from the system upgrades totalled $27,000. At a cost of $18,000, the payback period was 8 months. Funding from Enbridge helped to pay for the cost of the upgrade.
• Basaltic Road facility
At the J.D. Smith and Sons facility on Basaltic Road in Vaughan, Ont., upgrades to warehouse heaters and facility-wide HVAC control systems were completed in February 2008. The facility includes approximately 105,400-sf of warehouse space, 5,200-sf of office space, a 9,000-sf garage and 9,600-sf of head office space on two floors. Like the Keele facility, the Basaltic Road facility used 16 suspended gas-fired unit heaters in the warehouse, each with its own non-setback thermostat. The warehouse office, head office and garage each had two rooftop gas-fired heating/cooling units. The garage was also equipped with gas-fired radiant heating units. Significant temperature gradients existed between the exterior offices and the inner open office area and between the south facing offices and other offices, adds J.D. Smith and Sons.
In 2008, during a review of the facility’s systems, the company found that the average annual natural gas use over the previous three years had been 188,643m3 at a cost of approximately $90,000 per year. A number of the suspended unit heaters in the warehouse were found to have cracked heat exchangers during the pre-heating season inspection and cleaning. J.D. Smith and Sons took that opportunity to explore options for warehouse space heating and decided to implement the following changes:
• replace the 16 suspended warehouse unit heaters with 3 Cambridge direct gas-fired roof top heaters (model S950);
• install a number of controllable dampers (VAV’s) within the air ducts in both the warehouse office and the head office facilities to create a number of temperature controlled zones; and
• install a web-based HVAC control system to monitor, control, optimize, and report all HVAC components in the warehouse, warehouse office, garage, and head office.
With total costs of $156,095 and expected annual savings of $54,416, this project has a payback period of 2.87 years. The expected reductions in energy use will result in a reduction of 206.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
Other energy initiatives
In addition to its lighting retrofit and HVAC projects, J.D. Smith and Sons has completed several other initiatives that have resulted in energy savings for the company. At the Bowes Road facility in Concord, Ont., the roof was upgraded to a reflective Sarnafil membrane and the roof insulation was increased to R12 in the warehouse and to R20 in the office. Additionally, radiant heaters were installed in the maintenance shop at the Basaltic Road facility and all warehouse interiors were painted white, which contributed to an overall reduction in energy use. In the company’s trucking yard at the Basaltic Road facility, the engine block heaters are cycled so that only one third of the heaters are on at any time.
In 2007, J.D. Smith and Sons was awarded the first annual Supply Chain and Logistics Association Canada (SCL) Green Supply Chain Award. This award, sponsored by Transport Canada, acknowledges companies that have set and exceeded high standards for environmental friendliness in the handling and shipment of their products to customers.
Since fuel and electricity are likely to remain significant costs of its operations, J.D. Smith and Sons said it is looking to implement new initiatives to reduce energy consumption. The company is currently considering a LEED-EB audit, load shifting opportunities, and installing motion-activated warehouse lighting among its future energy initiatives. As well, the company expects to install an HVAC control system at its third warehouse facility on Bowes Road.