Success Story: A.O.K. Auto Body

Partner Information
Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
35,000 Sq. Feet
Annual Cash Savings: $5,577
Annual Energy savings: 40,150 kWh
Payback period: 1.4 years
Prevented 68,255 pounds of pollution

Auto Body Shop Owner Thinks Energy Savings are "A.O.K."

Most people might think Ed Pollitt, building manager of A.O.K. Auto Body Shop in Philadelphia, is nuts to get excited about receiving his energy bill. But then, most people also have little reason to enjoy ripping open the envelopes containing their own utility bills. Pollitt, however, has a good reason for his excitement: he can't wait to see how much he's been able to cut his energy costs.

Big Savings, Light Investment

Pollitt's energy bill has shrunk because he's replacing 400 8-foot T-12s in 200 fixtures with 800 4-foot T-8s in 400 fixtures. He is also taking out the magnetic ballasts that regulate the T-12s and replacing them with electronic ballast. He hasn't completed the retrofit yet, but he's already seeing huge savings.

His shop also had a number of fixtures that used 75-watt bulbs. He's replacing those with 60-watt bulbs, and in many cases, also reducing the number of bulbs in a fixture from four to two. "No one's noticed yet," he said, "so I guess everything is fine."

Recently, he bought an old building next to his shop that he plans to convert to a parking garage. The building had outside flood lamps that were on all night. He has now installed motion detectors so that the lights come on only when needed.

Common Sense Savings

Much of the savings Pollitt is enjoying results from common sense thinking. He's installed motion detectors in the bathrooms, he's placed timers on the water heaters and coffee pots, and he's added programmable thermostats in the whole facility.

Pollitt has simply replaced some equipment that was performing inefficiently with new, efficient models, including an old refrigerator used by employees to stash their lunches, an old air conditioner, and some old electric heaters.

Part of Pollitt's success can be attributed to simply encouraging his employees to turn off lights when not in use.

Fast Savings, Fast Payback

Pollitt's energy efficiency upgrades are ongoing, but he estimates that he is already saving approximately $5,577 a year. His investment in energy efficiency upgrades is an estimated $7,832, giving him a payback of 1.4 years. It's no wonder Pollitt can't wait to get his energy bills!

ENERGY STAR For Energy Savings

Back in 1996, Pollitt attended several ENERGY STAR for buildings' Building Momentum workshops that suggested a host of energy efficiency upgrades. He joined ENERGY STAR for small business, which he says has been of enormous help.

"ENERGY STAR is really good about providing objective information," he said. "If you talk to a salesman, he's just going to try to sell you whatever he has in stock. But, ENERGY STAR isn't selling anything -- it's just going to get you good, solid information.

Pollitt is a believer now -- he's seen the savings that wise investments in energy efficiency upgrades can make. "Right now I'm saving about 110 kWh a day. That works out to about $500 every month. Now I can't wait to get my energy bill!"

If you'd like to reap the savings that Pollitt and hundreds of other small business owners enjoy, consider joining ENERGY STAR for small business. The program, run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is a no-cost, voluntary service that helps small businesses cut their energy bills.

Why is the EPA willing to help? Because the less energy businesses waste, the less energy utilities need to produce. Producing power creates air pollution, so a smaller demand for power leads to less air pollution. By joining ENERGY STAR Small Business, you not only save money, but also help preserve the environment.

"Now I can't wait to get my energy bill!"

Ed Pollitt
Building Manager
A.O.K. Auto Body