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Sustainable plastics processing: Palram goes green, saves some green too

In a move to cut its carbon footprint and its operating expenses, thermoplastic sheet extruder Palram grabbed at some low-hanging fruit: low efficiency metal halide lighting at its facility in Pennsylvania. The bottom-line benefits were high, though, as with this one change it reduced its annual energy consumption by an amount equivalent to that consumed in more than 61 average American homes each year. 

In a move to cut its carbon footprint and its operating expenses, thermoplastic sheet extruder Palram grabbed at some low-hanging fruit: low efficiency metal halide lighting at its facility in Pennsylvania. The bottom-line benefits were high, though, as with this one change it reduced its annual energy consumption by an amount equivalent to that consumed in more than 61 average American homes each year. 

Palram (Lehigh Valley, PA) has completed exchanging the metal halide lighting for higher efficiency T5 lighting. Motion sensing detectors were installed in some areas of its facility for even greater energy usage reductions. The initial start up and restart time of the T5 lighting is less than 1.5 seconds; this is up to a 160% reduction in start up time and up to a 400% reduction in restart up time versus the metal halide lighting. T5 lighting also has a 20% longer life than metal halide lighting. Longer life also means, long term, less time spent climbing ladders to replace lamps.

At start up, a metal halide lamp cannot immediately begin producing its full light capacity because the temperature and pressure in the inner arc chamber require time to reach full operating levels, according to online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Starting the initial argon arc sometimes takes a few seconds, and the warm up period can be as long as five minutes (depending upon lamp type). During this time the lamp exhibits different colors as the various metal halides vaporize in the arc chamber.

According to Palram, the new T5 lighting also produces a higher and more consistent lumen per watt output value versus the metal halide lighting. The T5 lights start bright and stay bright while the metal halides will fade significantly over time.

Palram replaced 230 lights in one of its buildings and 139 lights another. The changes helped it reduce its total annual electricity consumption reduction by 681, 547 KWH and reduced its carbon footprint by more than 400 tonnes (883,950 lbs) of CO2 at 1.297 lbs of CO2 per KWH.

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