By David Kligman
AUBURN—Auburn was born during the Gold Rush. And that industriousness is still evident today in the Placer County city east of Sacramento.
Just outside the city’s historic Old Town is a small business that produces custom wood furniture—kitchen cabinets, entertainment centers and dining room sets. Interior Wood Design has been around a long time—since 1982—and was founded by Tim Hanson and Tim Fariss, best friends since they were in junior high.
The company is just one of the many small- and medium-size businesses benefitting from PG&E energy assessments.
Last week, Currents was on hand as PG&E customer relationship manager Dave Bond met with Hanson to tour his business and identify ways to save energy and money, including PG&E rebates. He also explained upcoming time-of-use rate changes and how small- and medium-size businesses can save money by conserving energy during peak hours from May to October.
“Long ago PG&E discovered that it was cheaper to save a kilowatt hour than to generate a new one,” Bond said. “And so that’s largely what we’re out doing—trying to conserve that kilowatt hour so that we don’t have to build a new power plant.”
During an energy assessment, every part of a business is scrutinized.
First they toured the showroom and discovered why the business’ energy use spikes every weekend when the shop is closed. It turns out the automatic thermostat was programmed to turn on the air conditioning seven days a week.
Bond recommended clear film for the storefront windows to minimize the blazing summer heat –PG&E offers rebates for that. And he suggested LED track lighting. They also toured the company’s two offices and even the bathroom.
Much of Interior Wood Design’s energy use comes from an air compressor that powers nearly all the machinery. It runs sanders and is used to blow away dust. PG&E has rebates available for businesses that buy more efficient air compressors. [See a list of rebates for businesses.]
In the shop, Bond says the 23-year-old metal halide lights could be replaced with new lighting that’s brighter and uses less energy.
“The metal halide light was a great option at one time, but they do degrade over time,” Bond told Hanson.
Hanson said shadows are a big problem since his employees need to see clearly to make quality furniture.
“This is the aspect of the whole thing you’re doing for us that we’re most excited about is getting the whole light level up in here and saving energy at the same time,” Hanson told Bond.
“There’s definite opportunity here,” Bond responded.
Hanson says he was grateful for the energy assessment. He plans on making some quick fixes while awaiting a more in-depth lighting and machinery audit.
For Hanson, energy savings will mean fewer expenses for a company that prides itself on high quality craftsmanship and excellent customer service.
Email David Kligman at David.Kligman@pge.com.