Henry Schein DC Gets the Green Light

Looking to reduce your carbon footprint, cut energy costs and make your warehouse employees happier all at the same time?

Then you might want to follow the lead of medical, dental and veterinary products distributor Henry Schein, which recently added a new eco-friendly lighting system at its 176,000-sq.-ft. distribution center in Grapevine, TX.

Specifically, Henry Schein recently installed 400 new T5 high output fluorescent lamps in the facility, replacing the 400-watt metal Halide fixtures that came with the building when the company bought it in 1998. The merchant also replaced some 220-watt fluorescent fixtures located in another section of the building with 64-watt T8 fluorescent fixtures.

These initiatives have enabled Henry Schein to cut lighting costs at the DC by two-thirds, while at the same time providing brighter, more natural light than what was delivered by the previous fixtures.

What’s more, the new lighting system has reduced Henry Schein’s carbon footprint by about 935,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, says Jeff Reade, vice president U.S. distribution.

“That’s is the equivalent of taking 81 cars off the road – or planting 1,400 new trees – annually,” he says.

A secondary benefit of the new lighting system is that the T5 fixtures produce less heat, he says, which in turn has resulted in a reduction in air conditioning costs. This is important considering the company has to maintain proper climate control for many of the products it distributes.

As a result, the installation of the new lighting has reduced the DC’s electric consumption by about 10% annually. Plus the DC now qualifies for rebates and tax reductions from the regional energy company as well as through the Environmental Policy Act, a federal program that encourages companies to adopt energy-saving technologies.

Reade says Henry Schein partnered with a company called Aelux to indentify opportunities for reducing energy costs in the DC before moving ahead with a decision.

Working with Aelux, Henry Schein was able to get an energy rebate through the regional electric company – as well as a one-time tax deduction offered through the state.

“That made the ROI much more beneficial to us,” Reade says. “The utility companies today are looking to take power off their grids, so for anyone looking to make the investment, there are tax benefits and incentives to be realized.”

Reade says the company found further efficiencies by installing motion sensors on some of the lighting in lesser-used areas of the DC, so that the lights shut off automatically when no one is working in those areas.

What’s more, the T5 bulbs have a life expectancy of around seven years, which is significantly longer than the metal Halide bulbs used previously.

Another advantage is that the quality of the light doesn’t change as the day wears on – or as the bulbs get older.

“With metal Halide, as soon as you click the fixtures on, within a very short period of time they burn down to about 60% of the original lumens, whereas the T5 lighting maintains 90% of its original lumens until the day it burns out,” Reade explains. “So what you get with metal Halide is, if you stand in a large open area, and depending on the age of the bulbs, you get a very uneven light.”

Schein employees appreciate the improvement.

“Not only do they recognize that we are providing them with a better working environment – there’s also the sensitivity toward greening that can’t be overlooked,” Reade says. “After we installed the new system, many of our TSMs came up to us and thanked us for being a good corporate citizen.”

Reade says Henry Schein is gradually transitioning the remaining five of its U.S-based DCs to T5 high output fluorescent lamps. He says the company’s DC in Reno, NV, was already partially retrofitted with T5 lighting in 2007.

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