AFS lands energy award

PHOTO SUBMITTED (From left) AEP Ohio Customer Services Engineer Ed Schwartz, American Fine Sinter’s Senior Adviser Yashushi Noguchi, Maintenance Supervisor Roger Galloway and Environmental, Health and Safety Engineer Jeff Woolley pose for a photo after American Fine Sinter was honored as an Energy Efficiency Champion April 25.

American Fine Sinter, of Tiffin, was recognized at American Electric Power Ohio’s Energy Efficiency Awards April 25.

The ceremony was to recognize AEP Ohio’s business customers and partners that have demonstrated a strong commitment to energy efficiency, according to a release. Eighteen organizations were honored as “Energy Efficiency Champions” for outstanding contributions to increasing energy efficiency within their organizations, reducing energy usage and positively impacting the environment, the release states.

Environmental, Health and Safety Engineer Jeff Woolley of AFS said that since 2009, the company had completed nine projects with AEP incentives.

Recent projects include adding variable frequency drives on new air compressors and inside and outside LED lighting at the company’s newest building, as well as smaller projects such as adding energy-efficient coolers in break rooms and updating emergency and exit lighting, he said.

Woolley said AFS has gotten about $72,766 back from AEP as part of the program. The company has invested a great deal of money, but he said it still is to get money back for working to become more efficient.

“The big benefit is energy efficiency,” Woolley said.

Energy Efficiency and Consumer Program Coordinator Mike LaScola of AEP Ohio said AFS completed five projects last year and the cumulative energy savings from those projects is to be about 1.1 million kilowatt hours annually.

He said AEP Ohio began offering incentives in 2009 and, while the program started small, its customer base grew.

“Our customers made great efforts to help make us, and them, successful, so we decided we should start recognizing them for their efforts,” LaScola said.

He said in 2012, the group was looking to recognize customers that were “really doing good things in efficiency” and that’s when the Energy Efficiency Awards program started.

LaScola said organizations can be recognized for the quality, size or number of projects undertaken in a year.

“It’s based on (an organization’s) overall energy efficiency activities,” he said.

LaScola said AEP receives nominations from its employees. He said AEP Ohio Customer Services Engineer Ed Schwartz, who works in the area, nominated American Fine Sinter.

Schwartz said he nominated AFS primarily for the five projects it completed last year. He also said historically AFS has been a “very energy-conscious” company. It also participated in AEP Ohio’s Continuous Energy Improvement program, which assists customers with low-cost to no-cost energy savings, which is a year-long program, Schwartz said.

“They’ve been very active trying to be energy-efficient and we’ve partnered with them on many projects,” he said.

LaScola said customers are categorized by size so they’re competing against other same-sized customers.

“(American Fine Sinter) is very involved in everything we do,” he said.

Woolley said it was nice to be recognized through AEP.

“Getting them involved early really helped us know how to do it well,” he said. “We have a good partnership with AEP and we used Frankart Electric for a lot of these projects. When we added the new building we got (Frankart Electric) and AEP involved early for incentive packages and to help with the building process.”

Woolley said that if any businesses are thinking of expanding or have projects in the works, they should know AEP offers incentives.

“They should get ahold of their representative and find out about the incentives,” he said. “A lot of power suppliers have cutback on incentives, but AEP has kept theirs in effect for the past few years now.”

Schwartz said AEP Ohio’s website has many different energy efficiency programs for manufacturing, commercial or residential customers. The programs try to help customers stay around for the long-term and be as profitable as they can be so they can be competitive, he said..

“It can help to expand like American Fine Sinter has done and bring more jobs to Seneca County and Tiffin,” Schwartz said.