G&T’s EEP program helps bring savings to Colorado dairy

New lighting installed with the help of Tri-State's EEP program has helped this Colorado dairy operation save big dollars on energy costs.

With the support of Tri-State and member system Morgan County REA (Fort Morgan, Colo.), a family-owned dairy producer, Empire Dairy, near Wiggins, Colo., is now able to cut more than $1,000 per month in electric utility expenses from its bottom line production costs with the installation of some new high-efficiency lighting.

A very similar retrofit of induction type lighting at Tri-State and several other member co-ops was provided by the same firm, Sustainable Building Experts of Denver. The Tri-State installation was for new lighting in the Westminster operations center parking lot in 2011.

Induction lighting is essentially high performance fluorescent illumination that can be retrofitted in existing fixtures at considerably less expense than the increasingly popular LED (light emitting diode) applications.

These installations are a part of a series of pilot projects funded through the association’s Energy Efficiency Products (EEP) program. Tri-State’s EEP pilot projects are aimed at testing and demonstrating the viability of emerging technologies in lighting and other energy efficiency products, according to Jon Beyer, Tri-State’s member services manager.

Left to right: Riley McLaughlin of Sustainable Building Experts, Bill Annan and Geoff Baumgartner, both with Morgan County REA, were key in the successful implementation of the energy-saving project at Empire Dairy.

Installed in Empire’s main dairy barn, the 97 new induction lights are designed to last up to 100,000 hours before replacement and save the eastern Colorado milking operation more than 9,000 kilowatt-hours per month in energy consumption. Payback for the retrofitted lights is estimated at a little more than a year from the installation date.

Empire Dairy has been a member-consumer of Morgan County REA since 1989. This large operation employs 85 people, who oversee a herd of 5,000 cows that must be milked three times a day. Most of the six loads each of 440,000 pounds of milk that is produced daily at Empire are transported to Leprino Foods in Fort Morgan for the production of cheese.

In addition to Tri-State and Morgan County REA’s support of the project, additional funding was provided through iCast, a Denver-area nonprofit organization that secures funding mainly to electric utilities and local government entities for sustainable technology projects throughout Colorado.

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