PECO recognizes Southco for energy conservation efforts

Southco has received a PECO Smart Equipment Incentives credit for energy-saving upgrades made to its facility in Concordville, PA.

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Southco Inc. recently received a PECO Smart Equipment Incentives credit for energy-saving upgrades to its office, manufacturing and outdoor spaces at the company’s Concordville, PA headquarters. Representatives from PECO presented Southco with a check for over $68,000, which covers the lighting upgrades and energy efficiency projects completed on campus since 2010.

The presentation occurred during a local event hosted at Southco’s Concordville campus with GreenNet Solutions meeting on April 15. A Mid-Atlantic based network of green product and service providers, GreenNet is dedicated to promoting green building practices, providing design and operational expertise and implementing smart building solutions. GreenNet periodically holds meetings for members to learn more about the benefits of green building practices by highlighting client success stories, like Southco’s.

Motivated by annual energy-saving goals and positive experiences with efficiency investments in other facilities, Southco began working with PECO in 2010 on a series of energy and cost saving measures as part of the PECO Smart Equipment Incentives program. The Smart Equipment Incentives program offers a variety of incentives to help businesses, governments, institutions and non-profits reduce the upfront cost of investments in energy-saving projects.

Incentives are available for equipment upgrades and building improvements that save energy including lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, drives, refrigeration and food service. The program also provides incentives for customized equipment and energy efficiency upgrades, which is where Southco is seeing the largest return on its investment thus far.

Starting with lighting, Southco replaced original metal halide fixtures with energy-efficient lighting in the Concordville manufacturing facility, reducing energy and maintenance costs, improving lighting quality and coverage, and reducing heating load. Southco then upgraded office lights, and moved outside to retrofit roadway, parking lot and landscaping lights with LEDs. In total, the Concordville campus has switched out more than 3,000 bulbs, saving 2.3 million kWh annually. Southco is currently looking at opportunities to upgrade more fixtures to low-maintenance LEDs.

Southco is earning even greater PECO Smart Equipment incentives – upwards of $200,000 – for a range of custom, HVAC and compressed air projects that provide deeper energy savings. Recent and on-going improvements at the Concordville campus include:

  • Upgrading the system used to dry plastic resin materials. This project cut the system’s power consumption in half, increased capacity, and lowered demand by 50 kW.
  • Upgrading compressed air systems. Southco replaced three units totalling 350 hp with one 125 hp variable speed unit and a small back-up system. This project cut demand by 100 kW.
  • Upgrading office HVAC systems. Southco replaced four aging rooftop units with new high-efficiency units and HVAC controls. The company is also pursuing projects that take advantage of outdoor air temperatures to provide efficient cooling through economizers and other technology.
  • Replacing hydraulic machines with electric-servo-driven machines. The new machines use less energy, require less maintenance, and deliver higher quality and precision.

Southco’s investments in energy efficiency have produced significant energy and cost savings, reduced maintenance needs, improved lighting quality, and provided a safer and more comfortable work environment for the 400 employees working at its Concordville campus.

"Southco is committed to continuous efficiency improvements – we’ve been ISO 14001 certified for almost 15 years – but we also need to meet aggressive financial standards for justifying these types of investments," says Mike Kulig, Manager of EHS and Maintenance, Southco. "We have every reason to keep pursuing economic projects as it fits with our corporate environmental policy, and the benefits are tremendous. The incentives from PECO are very attractive because they help us meet both goals, allowing us to improve our working conditions while minimizing our impact on the local environment."