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Corporate energy efficiency awareness on rise

| Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Tribune-Review
“Windows are one thing you can buy that pay for themselves,” says Don Darragh, owner of Energy Swing Windows in Murrysville. Darragh began manufacturing windows in 2000 with energy efficiency in mind. Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
Manufacturing technician Mark Cavanaugh assembles a window on Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, at Energy Swing Windows in Murrysville.  The type of glass used in the windows, the windows' design and careful installation add to the energy efficiency savings, according to company owner Don Darragh. Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
An Energy Swing Windows is on display on Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, in Murrysville.        Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review

In just a few years, Ellwood City-based Appalachian Lighting Systems added its energy-efficient, LED lights to Pittsburgh International Airport, the Allegheny County Jail and the streets of Ontario, Canada.

Company President David McAnally expects more government agencies and commercial enterprises, faced with rising electricity costs, to switch to energy-efficient lighting.

“Every watt of electricity you don't have to generate, it's a huge savings,” McAnally said.

Companies that manufacture energy-efficient products in Western Pennsylvania say customers are going green to save some green.

People turn to Energy Swing Windows in Murrysville for windows that will save them money on heating bills, said owner Don Darragh.

“That's always been an important concept and a value proposition that we've given to people,” said Darragh, who began manufacturing windows in 2000 with energy efficiency in mind. “Windows are one thing you can buy that pay for themselves.”

Darragh's company installs the windows it manufactures. The type of glass, the window design and the careful installation add to the savings, he said, noting that his natural gas bill dropped 37 percent when he installed the windows in his home a few years ago.

Bayer MaterialScience manufactures building materials that can greatly improve energy efficiency, whether they're used in new construction or a renovation, said Kim McDonald, a marketing manager for the company.

The company produces several types of insulation, including a spray polyurethane foam, that can help seal buildings, as well as sealants and adhesives that fill gaps where heat can escape.

“If your building is not well-insulated, you might as well leave all your windows open and heat the neighborhood,” McDonald said.

Bayer produces an alternative to glass ­— polycarbonate glazing — that provides the aesthetics of glass but is vastly more energy efficient, McDonald said.

The LED lighting Appalachian Lighting produces is about 80 percent more efficient than traditional bulbs and gives the look of daylight, McAnally said.

“Lighting was pretty much the last bastion of old technology. It goes back 100 years. It was very inefficient, just a very poor use of energy,” McAnally said. “With LED lighting, we're able to give the same levels or better quality levels of lightning to the facility at a fraction of the energy usage.”

The lights last longer, which saves on maintenance costs, he added.

Saving energy is important, given the gadgets people use today.

“This type of lighting can help to offset the additional usage we've started to get accustomed to over the last couple of years,” McAnally said.

Jennifer Reeger is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or jreeger@tribweb.com.

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