Lighting Rebate Improves Working Conditions and Saves Money

Windom Municipal Utility, in partnership with Energy Insight, regularly works with long-time customer Toro to cut rebate checks for its smart energy choices.

Toro’s 307,000 square foot plant is roughly the size of three city blocks. Since 2014, Energy Insight has completed ten energy efficiency projects involving upgraded lighting and compressed air equipment that lowered the company’s annual electric bill by about $100,000. That sum is expected to rise in 2019 when two additional projects are completed. Those projects will add another $23,000 in annual electricity savings.

At its Windom facility, Toro assembles riding mowers, snow blowers, and other lawn-care products.

The facility operates three shifts around the clock. For competitive reasons, company representatives were mum on specific details, such as how many pieces of equipment are assembled here or the size of its electric bill.

“We compete in global markets and many consumers make purchases based on the price of the product,” said Tim Dibble, a manufacturing energy manager at the facility. “That’s why it’s so important to use energy wisely because it’s an important cost input for our products.”

“Beyond an economic reason to reduce energy waste, we have an overriding environmental concern,” he continued. “We consider ourselves environmental stewards. Our business is green, so we must be green as well.”

Tim’s colleague Todd Hanson, a facility maintenance supervisor, expressed thanks to Energy Insight and Windom for their help in reducing energy waste. “We’re really grateful for Energy Insight walking the floor, identifying potential upgrades, calculating the cost benefit analysis, and filing for the rebates.”

Many of the rebates available for a lawn-equipment assembly plant like Toro’s are customized, which requires more detailed calculation than simply replacing a T-12 fluorescent bulb with a T-8 or replacing a fluorescent fixture with an LED. That’s where the detailed expertise of Energy Insight’s staff comes in.

“The LED upgrades installed in the Toro facility will cut the plant’s energy use by 60-70 percent,” Todd estimated. “Not only do the LEDs last forever, they provide much higher quality lighting, by a factor of 10 times. It’s like night and day.”