Local company an efficiency ambassador

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Though company officials at Automatic Feed Co. were doubtful at first, they have become believers in energy efficiency and will be seeing the benefits for years to come.

On Wednesday, the company was honored with the Ambassador of Efficiency Award from Efficiency Smart, the organization that has been hired to improve energy efficiency throughout Napoleon.

“I’ll admit, I was skeptical,” said Nathan Weaks, chief financial officer for Automatic Feed. That sentiment was echoed by company owners Kim and Peter Beck, but that comes naturally.

“When you’re selling efficiency lighting, there is some skepticism,” said Ross Kelly of Powerbuilt Material Handling Solutions, LLC. “When you say I’m going to increase your lighting and decrease your energy costs, it is hard to believe. We do get a lot of pushback at first sometimes.”

Kelly said he originally cold called Peter Beck, who told him he could come in and have 15 minutes to explain the situation.

“An hour and a half later, I was getting the full tour,” Kelly said.

“We were skeptical,” Peter Beck admitted. “But the project went off without a hitch.”

The contractor even worked with Automatic Feed to make the changes at night so as not to interrupt production.

The project consisted of replacing lighting fixtures with those that are more energy efficient while producing more light.

Peter Beck said he believed the project totaled $70,000, though Efficiency Smart also provided rebates from parts of the project. Automatic Feed is expected to recoup its costs within a little more than a year.

The company is estimated to save $30,800 per year on energy costs, and $462,100 over the lifetime of the equipment. The increased efficiency will also reduce the carbon output by 688,400 pounds.

Efficiency Smart has been contracted with by AMP, Inc., the conglomeration of municipal utilities, including Napoleon, that provides public utility power. Other programs run by Efficiency Smart to increase energy efficiency include giving out coupons for residents to buy energy efficiency light bulbs and appliance rebates on Energy Star products.

The goal of the program is to reduce the amount of energy used in the city, which is good for everybody.

“What’s happening at Automatic Feed is helping the community as a whole,” said Carl Andre of Efficiency Smart.

“Less power used means less power we have to buy,” added City Manager Jon Bisher.

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