Metal fabrication company Steelwind Industries Inc. recently received an environmental stewardship award from Orion Energy Systems due to a lighting change that will substantially benefit the environment.

Orion presents the award to companies that significantly reduce harmful greenhouse gases through the use of Orion’s patented lighting products and systems.

Steelwind Industries, based in Oak Creek, Wis., replaced 78 high-intensity discharge lights with Orion Energy Systems high-efficiency lighting platform. The project is expected to annually decrease lighting power usage by 53 percent — from 226,325 kilowatt-hours to 107,078 kilowatt-hours. The decrease in electricity usage results in annual light-related energy costs of approximately $10,778.

In addition to the annual cost savings, the lighting project will keep 116 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Over the 23-year life of the fixtures, Steelwind Industries also will prevent 12 tons of sulfur dioxide and six tons of nitrous oxide from entering the atmosphere.

The reduction in greenhouse gases over 23 years equates to planting 506 acres of trees, removing 437 cars from the road or saving 226,412 gallons of gasoline, according to the EPA.

The environmental benefits and energy cost savings of the Steelwind Industries project are possible because Orion fixtures have been engineered to use a specially formed, highly reflective surface to harvest light emitted from all sides of a fluorescent tube and direct it downward.

“For the next few decades, a major story in the business world is going to be the wholesale changeover to energy-efficient equipment,” said Neal Verfuerth, president and CEO of Orion. “We’re glad to be part of achievements like Steelwind Industries lopping 119,247 kilowatt-hours off the power grid and the benefits that provides. It benefits all of us because it tends to lessen upward pressure on power prices, and that's an issue we're all facing. Best of all, though, Steelwind Industries didn’t have to sacrifice or do without to get better lighting at a lower operating cost. That’s the way we like to see things work.”

Orion has deployed its energy management systems in 3,655 facilities across North America. Since 2001, Orion technology has displaced more than 334 megawatts, enough electricity to power more than 238,000 homes per year, saving customers more than $351 million and reducing indirect carbon dioxide emissions by 4.4 million tons.

About Steelwind Industries Inc.
Steelwind Industries Inc., of Oak Creek, Wis., is a family-owned business that is committed to meeting the highest quality and quickest turnaround for its customers. Steelwind Industries offers a one-stop metal fabrication shop including: Heavy fabricating, burning, surface grinding, heat treating, quenching, blasting, painting, and transportation.

About Orion Energy Systems Inc.
Orion Energy Systems Inc. is a leading power technology enterprise that designs, manufactures and implements energy management systems, consisting primarily of high-performance, energy-efficient lighting systems, controls and related services for commercial and industrial customers without compromising their quantity or quality of light.