February 23, 2012 10:36:00 AM
BY DAVID MILLER
STARKVILLE -- Weavexx has been in business in Starkville since 1955.
Like any company with longevity, Weavexx has made investments to cut costs and improve efficiency.
Tuesday produced the greatest return on Weavexx's most significant energy investment to date, as it received a $208,962 rebate from the Tennessee Valley Authority.
TVA, through the Starkville Electric Department, has worked with Weavexx since last summer in a program offered to commercial businesses that reduce consumption. TVA began by laying out the actual savings for each individual fixture in the 300,000 square foot facility. Once verified, TVA tracked the installation of the new fixtures by wattage.
Weavexx replaced more than 1000 fixtures, mostly 400-watt incandescent bulbs, with four-foot, energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs, or "T-8s." The total cost of the investment since September was more than $300,000. Additionally, the replacement work never halted or slowed productivity in the two months crews took to install them.
"We estimated we'd get back 50 percent by this point," said Hoyt Otts, electronic supervisor at Weavexx, "but we ended up getting back close to 70 percent. By far, this has been the most significant investment we've made."
The lighting has made a significant difference in visibility in the facility, too. Otts said it was like "a dungeon" before the bulbs were installed.
"We didn't realize how dark it was," Otts said. "Well, you put in a new light in your house and you see a difference. You re-light 300,000 square feet, and there's a big difference."
Otts said Weavexx expects a full return on its investment within the next two years.
TVA announced Tuesday that Weavexx's rebate was the largest ever awarded to a corporation for energy efficiency in the state.
TVA and SED offer similar programs on a smaller scale for homeowners.
"(Weavexx's) plan was to save more than 3 million kilowatt-hours per year," said Terry Kemp, general manager of SED. "Plus, there's an impact on the bottom line and employees' productivity. It's certainly attractive to other businesses, and we've got several that are going through similar processes."
"Having front-end capital to do things like this is important," he added. "They're preparing us for the future as we look for more changes coming down the pipeline."
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