By Katie Allen
LIVERMORE — When Gillig — the largest school and transit bus manufacturer in the country — needed more space to accelerate production, it moved its operations from Hayward to a 700,000-square-foot facility in Livermore earlier this year. The new building was the size of 12 football fields
Gillig welcomed the extra space but wanted to ensure the larger facility didn’t also produce a larger electricity bill, so the company signed up for an energy assessment through PG&E’s Savings By Design, new construction program. PG&E commercial customers benefit from the free program because they receive personalized attention from a customer relationship manager who supports their unique business needs, including during construction.
A PG&E energy assessment found that by replacing more than 1,300 lighting fixtures throughout the new Gillig facility, the company would save hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual operating costs.
The monetary savings was only part of it. The company also learned it would be reducing its carbon footprint after switching to energy-efficient LED lighting.
“The upgraded lighting that we have completed at Gillig fits into the culture of who we are as a company. We are committed to building buses that connect communities, eliminate congestion, and contribute to a greener environment and this lighting project works right into that philosophy by reducing our carbon footprint and greenhouse emissions,” said Derek Maunus, Gillig’s president.
PG&E’s Shannon Bell, customer relationship manager, worked closely with Gillig officials. And she wasn’t the only one. It was a PG&E team effort with engineering services also involved in the process over the past two years.
Bell was on hand last month to help present the company with a $315,650 rebate check for its recent lighting upgrade project. She helped ensure PG&E rebates were utilized to significantly reduce the cost of energy efficient upgrades.
“They were pleasantly surprised at the amount of the rebate check they received,” she said. “For me, it’s the highlight of my job. I love what I do. I love helping customers with energy efficiency.”
The bus manufacturer will also benefit from a reduction in ongoing maintenance costs associated with labor and lamp replacement. The LED lamp life is approximately four times greater than the previous high bay fluorescent system. According to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency calculator, the energy savings for this project is equal to removing 204 passenger vehicles off the road and ensuring 307 tons of waste stays out of landfills.
PG&E’s Savings By Design program offers business solutions and educational resources to building designers and owners. The program helps businesses exceed California’s (Title 24) energy-efficiency standards and businesses can have their building’s energy design analyzed to understand their needs and improve efficiency.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.