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Lighting analyst helps businesses boost bottom lines

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By John Wolcott
SCBJ Freelance Writer
Published: Thursday, February 2, 2012, 8:42 a.m.
  • Robin Riecks, vice president of Pacific Energy Solutions, shows a book of the firm's customized lighting installations, including this one at the Good...

    John Wolcott / For SCBJ

    Robin Riecks, vice president of Pacific Energy Solutions, shows a book of the firm's customized lighting installations, including this one at the Goodrich Corp.'s landing gear plant near Paine Field in Everett. Improving lighting in production facilities reduces energy costs and improves visual working conditions, Riecks said.

LAKE STEVENS -- When the Mill Creek Country Club hired Pacific Energy Solutions of Lake Stevens to solve lighting problems on its three indoor tennis courts, the switch from metal halide fixtures to PES' Courtlite Pro lighting system greatly improved its lighting and saved $22,000 a year, a 77 percent reduction in costs.
When Campbell-Nelson Nissan in Edmonds used PES to relight its parking lot, it saved 65 percent of its previous expense, more than $12,000 a year. Plus, the Snohomish County PUD's energy conservation program paid for 60 percent of the project.
When PES installed a state-of-the-art Arcticlite lighting system for a large cold-storage facility, it saved the operator 65 percent in annual expenses and improved the lighting from orange-tinted sodium-vapor bulbs to a "white" environment that even brought out the true colors of packing labels on products, making them easier to read.
The Boeing Co., Goodrich, Weyerhaeuser, Office Depot, the City of Seattle, Trident Seafoods, Kelly Moore Paints, West Coast Paper and Diadora America are among the companies that have made PES one of North America[']s leading suppliers of industrial and commercial products that convert older lighting systems into brighter, more efficient systems, according to Robin Riecks, vice president of the Lake Stevens business.
"Costly, outdated, inefficient lighting in manufacturing plants, office buildings or warehouses will cut into company profits, as well as lower the efficiency of the working environment," he said. "Any business that[']s still using metal halides, high-pressure sodium or T-12 fluorescent lighting can reduce their costs and improve their lighting by changing to new T-5Max fluorescents."
Not only are the new, brighter, instant on-and-off T-5s more energy efficient, they're "smart" lights that can be used with Watt Stopper motion sensors that turn lights off when lighted areas go unused. Also, T-5HO (high output) lamps have a rated life of 20,000 hours, compared to metal halide and T12s at 10,000 to 12,000 hours.
Much of Riecks' business success depends on more than improved fixtures, however.
"What makes our company different is that we don't take a cookie-cutter approach, just one-to-one lamp replacements," he said. "We look at the whole situation, the uses, the environment and the human element so that a client not only saves energy costs but also gains a more favorable work environment."
Experienced in electrical contracting and construction for nearly a decade, Riecks also is proficient in auto-CAD programs and Photometrix 3D modeling, so customers can see examples of how their new installation will look, including the lighting effects, before PES starts a project.
He also has a Lake Stevens partner, Kris Licht, who is experienced in sales, giving the PES team a lot of positive results, he said. Rex Electric Service of Lake Stevens handles the installations.
One of Riecks' most popular installations is for indoor sports courts. His Courtlite program (www.courtlite.com) has been installed in nearly 300 facilities nationally, including one at Ohio State University.
"We've found that in most areas local utilities have energy conservation programs that help to cover much of a project's cost," he said. "We work very closely with the Snohomish County PUD, Puget Sound Energy and, in British Columbia, BC Hydro."
He said there is almost no industry that can't benefit from upgrading their lighting systems, including school district. He's worked extensively with local districts, including Lake Stevens and Monroe.
Riecks also is keeping on eye on even more efficient LED lighting systems but they're currently more expensive than the technologies he uses.
"The price is improving rapidly and we[']re learning that they're not right for every environment, but they're already being used for lighting in very tight environments where their long life reduces the need for difficult replacement work," he said.
When customers learn they can save hundreds or thousands of dollars per year by installing new lighting, and that local utility conservation programs often defray the cost of new lighting installation as an alternative to building new power generation facilities, it quickly attracts a lot of attention, he said.
"There are still a lot of businesses that haven't heard about these energy-saving changes or haven't pursued having energy audits and seeing the attraction of installing new lighting systems," Riecks said, "but we're seeing more interest all the time."
Learn more
For more information, call Robin Riecks, 425-422-1744 or go to www.pacificenergysolutions.com.

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