General Motors Retrofits Orion Assembly Plant With Starco Lighting’s TLEDs

Will Save More Than $300,000 Annually in Energy and Maintenance


General Motors Orion Assembly Plant

Project Size

4.7 million square feet

Products Used

WattStopper HBP Sensor

General Motors Orion Assembly plant is a 4.7 million sq. ft. building structure located in Lake Orion, Michigan, about 30 miles north of Detroit. The facility was built in 1983 and is where the Chevrolet Sonic and the Chevrolet Bolt EV are assembled.

More than 5 million vehicles have been built at the Orion plant, which holds the distinction of becoming the first GM facility to receive the Clean Corporate Citizen designation by the state. In addition, it received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Leadership Award for 2016, recognizing the country’s leading green power users for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market.

As Energy Optimization Leader, Edward Fish is responsible for driving and supporting corporate energy conservation initiatives in GM’s manufacturing and non-manufacturing facilities. With linear fluorescent lamps from various manufacturers approaching end of life, Fish and his team performed an extensive evaluation of various tubular LED (TLED) product manufacturers. The company executed a technical review, followed by an on-site product evaluation to assess performance. When all was said and done, Fish selected Starco Lighting of Buffalo, New York after competitive bidding of qualified products.

“The business case for the corporate energy conservation project was based on engineering calculations, which demonstrated a simple two-year payback from energy savings,” Fish stated.

Starco’s extensive line of 2, 3, 4 and 8-foot product lengths and wattages ranging from 9W in a 2-foot tube to 36W in an 8-foot tube was first tested in April 2015 at the GM Components Holdings facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

DES Electrical Services of Detroit was brought in to perform the retrofit. Gaining access to some areas without impacting production required good communication, planning and coordination with tech support teams, specifically above the robotic welding cells in the body shop.

Work began in September 2015, was done in various phases and was completed in November 2016. Ceiling heights ranged from about 12 feet in office areas to approximately 24 feet in manufacturing areas. The retrofitting of the light fixtures was accomplished mostly during non-production hours, but some work was done during normal business hours. The plant has only one work shift from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Starco Lighting was one of the first manufacturers approved on the Design Lights Consortium (DLC) product listing with 140 lumens per watt tubes as early as March 2016, before the new DLC standards were released in April of that year.

“We upgraded areas from linear fluorescent to tubular LED in the body shop and throughout general assembly, material storage, kitting, paint shop, final assembly, trim shop, maintenance areas and administration building office areas,” Fish explained.

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