The exterior of Davis & Warshow’s Queens distribution center, which is housed in a 100-year-old building
If you’re a Davis & Warshow customer and you’ve a conscience that’s green, then this bit of news may warm your heart. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a press event held by the New York-based luxury kitchen and bath distributor to announce that its 209,000-sq.-ft. distribution center in Queens had achieved net-zero lighting costs, thanks in part to the facility’s conversion from fluorescent to LED lighting. During the event, David Finkel, president of Davis & Warshow, was presented with a $63,704 check by executives from local utility company Con Edison. The amount represents the rebates earned from the lighting conversion based on annual kWh saved.
Above: At the event, David Finkel (center), president of Davis & Warshow, was presented with a check for $63,704 by David Pospisil (left), program manager of the Con Edison Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Programs. Also participating in the presentation was Charlie Szoradi (right), CEO of Independence LED, which made the LED tubes. Below: A giant light switch was turned on as part of the festivities.
The retrofit required more than two miles’ worth of LED tubes, making it the largest single-facility installation of its kind in the country. All were sourced from Wayne, PA-based Independence LED and feature a remote driver and finned design to protect against heat and thus ensure longer lamp life. Having left the lighting industry in 2003 when white LEDs were the new hot technology, I was surprised by the lamps’ brightness and by how far the technology has come. Moreover, someone mentioned the conversion has also positively impacted employees at the facility, who report feeling happier about their work environment.
Of course, the energy savings are considerable. Prior to the conversion, lighting accounted for nearly 65 percent of the facility’s total power usage and cost almost $50,000 a year. The new LED installation requires less than $20,000 per year to operate and accounts for less than 50 percent of the building’s energy consumption. With an investment of $250,000, the conversion to LED is expected to pay for itself in five years.
As part of the event, a group of us also climbed onto the roof to see the facility’s solar paneling, which was installed in 2011 and plays a critical role in achieving net-zero lighting costs. Both the solar panels and LED retrofit are part of the company’s Practically Green program, a small-steps approach to greening the company that began in 2008.
Incidentally, as a side note, if you’re interested in solar panels for your own home, a friend of mine suggested visiting One Block Off the Grid.