Energy efficiency makes Searsport firm more competitive

Oct 18, 2010

Searsport — Efficiency Maine has just finalized a grant contract with GAC Chemical in Searsport for $314,000 that will allow the company to complete a $630,000 full-facility energy retrofit. GAC manufactures and distributes specialty chemicals to a worldwide market. The company is the largest industrial manufacturer in Waldo County, employing 60 people.

The energy project will keep these jobs in Waldo County and make GAC more competitive with companies outside of Maine with lower costs, according to company President David Colter.

"GAC competes in a national and international marketplace, and the purpose of this project is twofold: to reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency, which, in turn, will strengthen our long-term stability," said Colter. "Without the support of Efficiency Maine this project would not be possible."

To keep GAC Chemical competitive, Colter has been strategizing ways to lower operating expenses. Last year GAC partnered with Honeywell¹s Automation and Control Solutions division to identify opportunities for savings through energy efficiency improvements.

The project will save approximately 275,000 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil, enough oil to heat 247 homes for a year, and 223,861 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which would power 35 homes for a year. To get these savings, GAC Chemical will be installing new systems to recycle steam from the manufacturing processes to heat water. The retrofit also includes optimizing boiler controls, updating lighting and insulating pipes throughout the plant.

"GAC Chemical was among the top projects in a very competitive round of funding," stated Ian Burnes, program manager at Efficiency Maine. "GAC was awarded the grant on the basis of their energy savings, the private matching dollars they contributed and the impact on the company's long-term economic sustainability."

Funding for this grant was made possible by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiatiative. RGGI is an innovative effort by 10 states stretching from Maine to Maryland to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change globally. RGGI has delivered significant new investments in energy efficiency and clean energy programs that reduce energy costs, increase and protect jobs, grow the economy and help Maine become more energy independent.

Efficiency Maine is a statewide program that promotes the more efficient use of energy, helps Maine residents and businesses reduce energy costs to improve Maine¹s economy and environment. For more information about business programs offered through Efficiency Maine visit http://efficiencymaine.com/at-work or call 866-376-2463.

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