The Retrofit Companies Blog

Steve Kath Receives NALMCO Award

NALMCO - Lumina Award

 

TRC is proud to see former President Steve Kath recognized for his many years of service to NALMCO. Steve was honored at the 65th Annual NALMCO Convention & Trade Show in Orlando, FL. 

 

Steve Kath Lumina Award 1"A second Lumina Award was bestowed upon outgoing past president Steve Kath, CLMC. Kath is a mainstay in the organization, serving four years as Membership Committee chair and six years as an Executive Committee Member. He is passionate about - and excels at - making all members feel they are part of the NALMCO family...Thank you Steve for your 10 years of service to NALMCO." - LM&M Dec. 2018

 

About the Lumina Award

"It is encouraged but not required to give the Lumina Award annually for special merit. This award is presented for commitment, loyalty and dedication to the leadership of NALMCO and/or project recognition that benefits NALMCO and the lighting industry. It is our understanding that the Lumina Award is chosen by the President with assistance from the Executive Committee. Awards are presented at the Annual Banquet held during the NALMCO Convention and Trade Show." - NALMCO

 
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LM&M December Issue

 

To read more about the 2018 NALMCO Awards, please see pg. 20 of the December, 2018 issue of LM&M Magazine.

Talk to a Lighting ExpertReady to take that next step and improve your lighting? Have questions about if you should go with LED lights and why?

 

 

Employee Spotlight - Adam Lundahl

 

 

 

TRC has always focused on hiring great people to become part of the TRC family, and now it's time for you to get to know our employees a little bit better. Beyond their expertise, our team brings a unique mix of backgrounds, hobbies and special skills to the table. Check us out!

 

Introducing Adam Lundahl

Adam headshot-1
 

Introducing Adam Lundahl; Adam has been with TRC for approx. 11 years and has a background in land surveying and pre-demolition, recently finding his way into a successful role in Environmental Sales.

Adam has a passion for hockey, his kids and loves to be outdoors. Ask him where he would rather be and he will likely say on his boat in the sun, or in the Bahamas. He loves the water and the beach. Check out the video below to learn about some trouble he found himself in at 15 years old! 

 

 

Name and Title

Adam Lundahl, Environmental Sales

 

Tell Us About Yourself

I've been here for 11 years. I'm now in Environmental Sales. When I first started I was in pre-demolition work.

 

What is the Strangest Thing About Pre-Demo?

In St. Paul, MN we had a job where there were homeless people living in there...daily we had a police officer show up...he would walk it with us every morning.

Did you Imagine Yourself in Environmental Sales?

I went to school at St. Cloud State University for Land Surveying; I was a Land Surveyor for 8 years.

What Was Your Dream Job as a Kid?

I actually wanted to be a police officer like Miami Vice. I always thought I would make a good cop.

 

What are Your Hobbies Outside of Work?

Summertime we are usually on the boat. If I can be on the water, that's where I want to be.

 

Name a Guilty Pleasure

I am an 80's hairband guy. I love 80's hair bands. I also love my bowl of ice cream at night.

TRC Featured in LM&M Magazine

LM&M MagazineLM&M December Issue

 

A Must-Read in the Lighting Industry.

LM&M, the official NALMCO publication, provides information on the latest industry trends and developments in planned lighting maintenance and lighting technology — content that’s beneficial for NALMCO members as well as owner-occupiers and other industry professionals.  

 

TRC is thrilled to grace the pages of the NALMCO LM&M Magazine as a featured Project Spotlight in the newly released December issue. NALMCO is an organization that has really set the standard for Lighting Quality Management and brings together business experts in the Lighting Industry.

 

 

We are a proud member of NALMCO and are honored to share our case study at Caledonia Schools, a project focused on LED lighting, design and energy savings across the school district, with the loyal LM&M readers. We get a lot of questions from our customers regarding success stories that they can relate to, and so many businesses face similar challenges to those that were resolved in this project. Check out the original case study Caledonia Schools Case Study.

 

Caledonia Schools Hallway

 

Are these issues sounding familiar? Take a look at our Investment Grade Audit E-Book to learn why this the likely the next step for you.get a smart start to your lighting projectReady to take that next step and improve your lighting? Have questions about if you should go with LED lights and why?

Talk to a Lighting Expert

 

 

LED Tunable Lighting - 3 Types

 

LED Tunable LightLEDS Magazine

LED Lighting continues to offer consumers more than just energy efficiency, and with new types of tunable lighting technology becoming more readily available, there are a variety of additional benefits.

LED Luminaires, with the ability to deliver varying light color, have been on the market since early days of LED lighting, but the colors, controls and capabilities keep improving and their applications continue to grow. The US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy states that these technologies are proving to have benefits beyond energy efficiency and may in fact improve environments and conditions in schools, hospitals, residential spaces and more.

Here we explore tunable lighting in general, the areas we are seeing this technology, and why you would want to consider putting tunable lighting in your business.

 

3 Categories of Color-Tunable Products

 

Dim to Warm

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Lightology

 

  • These are also referred to as "blackbody dimming" or "incandescent-like" dimming
  • These products mimic incandescent or halogen dimming performance. They usually range from 2700K-3000K at full output down to as low as 1800K. The light color becomes increasingly warmer as the products dims.
  • These products are often used in places where you want a whiter light in the day, but a warmer light in the evening: restaurants, hotel lobbies and guestrooms, ballrooms, theaters and residential spaces.
  • Because dimming is linked to color changing in this type, Dim to Warm products only use one control signal per group of fixtures/luminaires. These can be equipped with a wireless receiver for control by a wireless transmitter.
  • A potential issue with these products is that some users want to reduce light output without changing color, and in that case white-tunable may be a better choice.

TRC Lighting Case Studies

White Tunable

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LightShowWest

  • These are also referred to as "tunable-white" or "kelvin-changing"
  • These products have two sets of phosphor-coated LED primaries; one with a warm-white color (around 2700K) and the second with a cool-white (between 5000k and 6500K).
  • By controlling the two different LED's (up or down), you can create a straight line that connects them on a "chromaticity diagram." This is called linear white tuning.
  • There are also luminaries that use three or more LEDs, which allows the capability to produce a wider range of color. These do not create a straight line, but follow the blackbody curve, much like the dim to warm version (called nonlinear white tuning). The colors created on the chromaticity diagram are not what you see.
  • White tuning is used for a range of reasons, including providing apparent cooling or warming to a room, providing a psychological effect, such as using cool-colored lights to make occupants feel cooler on a hot summers day, or to calm or invigorate students in a classroom. 
  • These products are often selected when a space undergoes a renovation or interior design remodel and the lighting needs to adjust to a new theme or color palette. White tuning is great in retails, and is also used to simulate daylight or match color of daylight in a windowed lobby, for example, or to assist with behavior control.
  • Potential issues include the fact that the control interface can be more complicated. Controlling two separate lights with the same switch, or two different switches, depending on preference, creates for more difficult wiring of the controls versus a fixed color LED.Consult a Lighting Professional

Full Color Tunable

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  • These are also known as "spectrally tunable" or "color changing"
  • Full color tunable products are just as they sound; full color and full tuning. These are the most versitile of the options, allowing you to completely change the space at any given time (from dim white to bright purple)
  • These products usually have three or more different LED primaries that can be individually varied in output to create a mixture of light that is white, a tint of white or a saturated hue.
  • The minimum for full-color tuning is three, but full color tunable systems have 4, 5, 6 or even 7 color systems for even more unique colors of individual LED’s.
  • You will find these in such applications such a theaters, theme parks, arcades or restaurants.
  • Full color tunable requires a more complex control interface, and must be powered separately from the luminaire.
  • Potential issues with full color tunable include initial and reprogramming of these controls are hard to handle in-house and require a professional. It is also easy to skew colors and oversaturate or undersaturate a space if not tuned correctly.

Cost of a Retrofit? Download Free ebook

What Are The Advantages of Tunable Lighting?

 

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Light regulates our circadian rhythm, effecting our emotional and physical being. As the sun come sup the light levels increase and become cooler, helping us become more awake and active, and as the sun goes down, light levels decrease and become warmer preparing us for sleep. Both the intensity and spectrum of light can be used to stimulate or suppress hormones such as melatonin, impacting our mood, alertness and health. The ability to control interior light to affect the attitude, happiness, effectiveness and productivity of a person or group is an amazing advancement in technology.

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Tunable white is often used in schools giving teachers the adjusting light setting for given activities, with a remote or a switch on the wall. Many classroom studies suggest that the color and intensity of light can be modified to calm or invigorate students, or to focus their attention, and even provide a less stressful environment for students, while improving the overall learning environment.

Tunable Lighting in 3 TExas Classrooms

Many school districts are implementing this type of technology in special needs classrooms, replacing the need for the cloth curtain over the light fixture. TRC helped upgrade a small clasroom at McGuire Middle School (Lakeville, MN) to tunable lighting and we have received excellent feedback.

 

Tunable LED Elementary School Case Study & Videos

 

 
 

lighting controls in classroom

Lighting Controls Association

Tunable light is also being introduced in conference rooms to set the tone of the meeting, from intense to happy hour, in healthcare settings to help with the regulation of biological clocks, and retailers to better showcase colors that pop or better engage customers by adjusting lighting on demand.

 

You may also see tunable light popping up in Senior Living Facilities, such as this study conducted in Sacramento, CA. The study discusses the variety of products implemented throughout the facility and the variety of color temperatures utilized and their effects.

 

Senior Living TUnable Light Case STudy

 

Lighting Customer Testimonials

 

Employee Spotlight - Jake Andrist

 

 

 

TRC has always focused on hiring great people to become part of the TRC family, and now it's time for you to get to know our employees a little bit better. Beyond their expertise, our team brings a unique mix of backgrounds, hobbies and special skills to the table. Check us out!

 

Introducing Jake Andrist

Jake Andrist Sales and Marketing Manager
 

Introducing Jake Andrist; Jake has been with TRC for approx. 6 years and has found success in sales roles over the years, now serving as the Sales and Marketing Manager for both the Lighting and Environmental division.

Jake has a passion for cooking, likes to escape for a concert or two with his wife Allison, is not a fan of superheroes and had a childhood run-in with a farm animal. Check out the video to get to know more about Jake! 

 

Name and Title

Jake Andrist, Sales and Marketing Manager

 

How long have you been with TRC?

I've been here a little over 6 years now. I started in Inside Sales for our Environmental Division.

 

What makes TRC Special?

We really care about our customers. It's really been a focus of ours since we started. In the Environmental division, there is not another Environmental Company in our area that provides the level of service that we do. With our Lighting division, it's not only our expertise and capabilities, but also that level of service of well. We don't take an off the shelf approach, everything is custom to what the customer needs. 

What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

I enjoy cooking, and with that I enjoy eating of course. I have been known to enjoy Taco Bell late night. No one really enjoys Taco Bell in the day time.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

Me and my wife like going to concerts. Also, I spend a lot of time with my family. Three kids keep us pretty busy. 

 

What is something people may not know about you?

When I was four years old I got attacked by a llama. We were renting a house on a farm; nobody sustained injuries. And no, I don't have a llama complex.

 

If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you want to bring?

I would probably want to bring somebody that would help me build a boat to get off the island; some ship builder. Maybe Noah.

3 Types of Linear LED Tubes

3 LED tubes

CONFUSED ABOUT DIFFERENT TYPES OF LINEAR LED TUBES?

We break down the 3 most common types of T8 and T5 LED tubes used in LED lighting retrofit projects and their various pros and cons.

Consult a Lighting Professional

TYPE A LINEAR LED TUBES

 

Does your facility, such as a gymnasium, commercial or industrial building, have high ceilings?

Type A LED tube

Type A lamps are a good solution in many applications because of the increased ability to control the light via ballast factor.This is currently the only LED T8 lamp system that is capable of matching a T8 system operating on a high ballast factor.

Type A lamps are a fluorescent ballast compatible lamp with exceptions. These exceptions are expansive, in fact almost every manufacturer suggests consulting their list of compatibilities before installing LED T8 tubes. We have found that there are even scenarios where the LED lamp product is not compatible with ballasts from the same manufacturer.

 Additional benefits of Type A lamps are that they come in different wattages and beam angles, and lumen output for this type can be controlled by the existing ballast: Low Power (LP), Normal Power (NP), and High Power (HP). Most often, these lamps are installed as a simple “relamp” project, but it is important to consider the age of your ballasts when choosing this type. If you intend to change ballasts the week after you install these LED lamps, that may undermine the goals and objectives of your project. Whether or not type A is going to be the best solution for your project depends greatly on your maintenance story.

 

TYPE B LINEAR LED TUBES

 

Type B lamps are seeing a lot of changes in the industry due to their many risks.

Type B led tube

We are still seeing issues with the direct wire single-ended lamps, which require the ballast to be removed and the socket wired directly to line voltage. Risks include the possibility of lamp failure, sparks and even fires. These single-ended lamps may have been previously chosen to reduce maintenance time, but they pose such a large safety risk that the industry is shifting towards the double-ended lamp.

Double-ended Type B lamps mitigate many of the safety concerns because there is no longer a way for the electrical current to travel across the lampholder. This includes a situation where you install a fluorescent lamp . You also no longer have to install an unshunted socket due to the dual-end nature of the new lamps.

Some of the main downfalls of the new version of these lamps are that they are very limited in lumen output options (generally two light levels) and that there currently are no known lamps on the market that can reach high output light levels required in the applications mentioned above.

Another common downfall of Type B LED lamps is the "flicker" factor. This is an issue that used to be prevalent with T12 and was basically eliminated by T8 solutions. It has now come back with the Type B tubes, but it is not prevalent in Type A or Type C solutions. There are a couple of manufacturers that have come out with a flicker-free type B solution, but options are limited. The flicker is unnoticeable to many, but with some segments of the population it can be very debilitating (causing headaches, nausea, etc). 

TRC Lighting Case Studies

TYPE c LINEAR LED TUBES

 

Type C's are really the only “true LED system” among the T8 lamp options. 

Type C led tubeType C Lamps are an LED lamp with a fixture mounted driver, with drivers now available with three different standard outputs as well as programmable for more/less output depending on required light levels. The Type C lamp is similar to an LED fixture in that you have a light engine and a separate driver.

Type C's typically offer the longest life, and dimming capability that the others do not. The reason they’re not chosen as often is due to their higher price point. Total cost of owning a lighting system should be evaluated when considering whether these are your best investment. The type C lamp has just recently achieved controllability using different Mili-amp Drivers. The drivers are more expensive, but in some instances the will achieve a higher lamp life rating 60,000 versus 50,000 hours.

Type C lamps have their benefits, but as with Type B, most of the market offerings do not capture the high lumen output category. The other issue we have discovered with Type C is that virtually none of the systems are cross-compatible across manufacturers. This means that you could potentially be stuck with the manufacturer and product line that they have installed in the facility. You would most likely not be able to find a lamp or a driver from a different manufacturer that works with your existing system down the road if that system is discontinued, or the manufacturer goes out of business, in many cases resulting in a completely new system investment.

Consult a Lighting Professional

While linear LED lamps are popular now, that does not mean that it is the only option, or always the best option when upgrading to LED. You should consult a lighting professional to ensure that you are aware of all of the pros and cons for all options available to ensure you are meeting all of your project goals. 

 

Case Study - ISD #299 Caledonia Public Schools LED Upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

Case Study Interview and Project Spotlight with Craig Ihrke, ISD #299 Caledonia Public Schools Superintendent,
and Lee Morem, Facilities Director
LED Lighting Upgrade, Retrofit Light Fixtures, New LED Technology, Energy Savings

 

Project Overview

ISD #299 Caledonia Public Schools prides themselves on empowering learners for life and their strong ties to the community. In a school district serving Caledonia and the surrounding areas, it became abundantly clear to superintendent Craig Ihrke and his team that providing a welcoming environment was a necessity. “There are a lot of things that add to the pride in our schools, and lighting is certainly one of those things, said Craig Ihrke, superintendent of Caledonia Schools. 

A complete LED lighting retrofit across both buildings “provides a brighter, more welcoming environment, but more importantly it provides a lot of energy savings. We could save up to $10,000 annually,” said Ihrke.  

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Caledonia Area Middle School and High School 

 

The most important factor for Caledonia Schools, which include Caledonia Elementary School and the combined building for Caledonia Middle and High School, was really focusing on the potential energy savings across both buildings. Lee Morem, Facilities Director at Caledonia Schools said “The Retrofit Companies, Inc. (TRC) helped us decide that retrofitting the lights was the best course of action, and the most economical. It has been a wonderful experience to see the buildings transform.” The decision to upgrade the lighting across the entire district not only impacted the staff working in the offices, the students learning in their classrooms, but also the athletes practicing before and after school. As an added bonus, the community gets to watch their all-state caliber athletes in efficient and even lighting.  

 

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Caledonia Elementary School 

 

Outdated technology throughout district 

As The Retrofit Companies, Inc. fully inspected the district with an Investment Grade Audit and their team of experts, it became clear that there were a variety of issues at play, both with the interior and exterior of each building. Exterior lighting is very important, especially when we have events in the evenings and the MN winters get pretty dark. Having quality exterior lighting is important for safety and it also gives a welcoming feeling when you enter the parking lot” said Ihrke.  

Specifically, the buildings were running on outdated technology, which resulted in a high level of lamp failure and maintenance headaches. 

“We had a lot of exterior metal halide lights that we were having a lot of trouble with. The building is 18 years old and we were seeing a lot of things start to fail, both fixtures and ballasts” said Morem. 

From a security standpoint, we had a lot of dark spots, and when we do snow removal there were a lot of areas that were not well lit. That was a motivation for sure. With this in mind, it was apparent that TRC address the light levels through design using photometric layouts.  

The Caledonia Middle/High School was also undergoing a renovation in their main gymnasium; a pivotal area of a school that is known for their impressive athletic programs. Ihrke said “The importance of having quality light in the gymnasium, especially for our strong athletic teams...we are very excited about the lighting in the gym. The light has changed drastically and people are going to notice right away.” The Retrofit Companies, Inc. partnered with Caledonia Schools during multiple district renovations, both exterior and interior projects, including new sidewalks, that all showcase the pride that the district takes in providing the best educational facilities. The district had to ensure they found a partner for their lighting upgrade that could work with the many moving parts of an entire school district, their existing projects and the schedules of community buildings that never sleep. In the end, TRC and Caledonia Schools worked together to create a smooth upgrade across all facilities.  

 

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Caledonia Area Middle and High School Gymnasium 

 

Making the Investment

“This was a peculiar project; we actually went out and created our own bid form for this project; it was very involved. Chris Wendling at TRC was very helpful in guiding us with what specifications were needed for this large project. It was very helpful to have Chris help with that part of the process. The audit that TRC provided had the existing technology, the recommended replacement, as well as additional recommendations for replacements. You could clearly see what was the best way to go” said Morem. 

When considering alternative solutions, the Investment Grade audit provided by TRC gave a clear choice as to the most economical and financially responsible solutions. 

Morem said We went from a T8 fixture, with 32 watts per lamp, to 15 watts per lamp, so we cut it in half. We were told from the outset that we would see considerable savings right away, and to take your total load and to cut it in half is substantial. I don’t know of anything else in your building system that you could do that with; you can’t cut your heating costs in half, or your cooling in half by making one change. To see over 50% of your consumption reduced with an overall better quality light, the answer was clear.”  

In fact, the proposed cost savings was a reduction in annual energy costs by 58%. Based on hours of operation, the existing energy costs under the old technology would have been $82,124. With the implemented solutions they are expected to see operating costs of $34,536.30. These savings not only came from lamp replacements but also from retrofit kits and fixtures to offer longer life solutions in areas where maintenance issues were a concern. Breaking that savings down, Caledonia School district is saving $130.38 a day.  

 

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Caledonia Elementary School Light Layout 

 

Keeping it Local

TRC worked diligently to accommodate the many challenges and variables of this project. In general, summer is a busy time for schools to get projects of all kinds completed, this was no different. TRC worked with the painters when they needed to get in to paint the gym ceilings, and change their installation schedule as necessary. “These buildings never really sleep...the high school is a living organism and is always going. From people lifting weights at 5am to evening events that push 11pm.” With facilities that have such a high demand for light usage, it was imperative that TRC provide a full scope of work in their Investment Grade Audit, detailing the various parts of their buildings and their unique demands. It was very exciting to work with Retrofit (TRC) about how detailed the audit was, how everything fell together in exactly the order in which they said it would"...

"The timelines and schedules were met without any issue, and most of the times in advance. Scheduling was very easy, if there were needs for the building, the team would be flexible and work on another area. This could actually be done with school in session, that’s how easy it was to work with TRC Morem said.  

“I was also very happy to see that they hired a local contractor to sub out the work down here in the elementary building. We like to have community involved and we like to have local contractors; it’s a small community and we take pride in keeping things local” said Morem. TRC always supports the area being served, and working with a local contractor is part of the full circle of service provided that matches the TRC company values. 

 

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Caledonia Elementary School Library 

 

LED Lighting Transformation

The only surprise I had was how quickly an area had progressed. You return to a room and all of a sudden it is transformed. You could do this project with school operating, the crew kept things tight, clean and I was surprised at how smooth everything went.”  

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Caledonia Area Middle and High School Hallway LED Lights 

 

When asked about how the new light has been received by staff and faculty, Morem said “In recent weeks as school starts to start up again, and students coming in for sports programs, we have heard many times how much brighter it is in the building, noticing things they have never noticed before” even if that means needing a fresh coat of paint on the walls. “Especially the impact at night, the color and the quality of light makes an impact. It’s almost like you are getting a new chance at a new room.”  

Schedule a call with our lighting consultant
 

Local School Cleans Out Chemical Stockpile

 

Fourth Baptist Christian School

Lab Pack and Chemical Clean Out

 


Take a look at the video below to see how a simple chemical clean out can be very eye-opening!

 

 

  Customer Spotlight, Fourth Baptist Christian School

Chemical Waste Clean Out, Lab Pack Service

 

 

CHEMICAL STOCK PILE IN SCHOOLS

 

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Fourth Baptist Christian School
Plymouth, MN

  

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Fourth Baptist Christian School is 53 years old, and many years ago (possibly 25-30 years) the school accepted a donation from a local university with a full lab of miscellaneous chemicals. After years of storage, the Science Department determined they do longer had a use for most of these chemicals and could better utilize all of that valuable storage space. Alan Hodak, Fourth Baptist School Administrator and Executive Director of the MN Association of Christian Schools, and his team decided it was time to find a safe and responsible way to dispose of this mysterious stockpile. Alan's team decided to reach out to TRC and call in their team of Chemical Waste Experts to assess the situation and help properly remove these potentially dangerous chemicals with their Lab Pack service.

 

"Something had to be done, and the timing was right," - Alan J. Hodak, Administrator at Fourth Baptist Christian School

 Request a recycling pick up

Do You Have Radioactive Materials in Your School?

As TRC's team worked through the stockpile, properly identifying, sorting, packaging, and preparing, they came across some Radioactive material. This is more common than you may think, but can be easily removed with the help of an expert

Radioactive material 1Example of Radioactive Material found in schools

 

Radioactive materials have long been used in schools to demonstrate this fundamental concept.  These materials may be dangerous if not properly handled and stored.  We often find that these materials were purchased long ago, by staff who have since moved on.  As regulations change and new staff arrive, it can be a challenge to keep training and licensing current.

 

Depending on how long your chemicals sit around or how they are being stored, there may be other high risk items that you would never realize unless thoroughly assessed. We often assist schools in similar situations as Fourth Baptist Christian School and in the process discover items that they never even knew they had.

 

Best Practice for SChools with Chemicals


Our TRC Chemical Waste Experts have encountered many schools with similar chemical waste issues, and our recommendations for best practices are as follows:

Chemical Clean Out Lab Pack
Fourth Baptist Christian School Chemical Clean Out - Lab Pack Services
After chemicals have been properly sorted and packaged

  • Only carry inventory of items you will use within your curriculum
  • Keep cabinets organized and labeled
  • Plan an annual inventory and Clean Out
  • Reduce your risk by avoiding mysterious donations

Hazardous Waste Inventory Download

 

Request a recycling pick up
 

Customer Spotlight - Crown Plastics

 

4 reasons we decided to upgrade our lighting

 

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Crown Plastics, Inc.
Plymouth, MN

  

 

1). "To Invest In Our Employees"

They say a company will never succeed without being employee-centric, and this is the approach that Matt Van Beusekom, Operations Manager at Crown Plastics, Inc., fully believes in. Taking pride in this family business not only means pleasing the customers, but it also means taking care of their employees and providing them with an excellent place to work.

 

2) "We Needed Light"

As with any business, Crown Plastics, Inc. has a variety of areas throughout their facility that require very different light depending on the work space. The ceilings in the office areas are lower, and employees are working on computers and conducting meetings, whereas in the production areas, the ceilings are much higher, employees are working on both large format machines as well as very fine detailed fabrication work, and the hours of light usage vary. These are just a few of the unique details that were considered when our TRC Lighting Experts developed a full re-design for each space that was custom fit to the needs of Crown Plastics, Inc.

 

"We just took a look at our overall lighting, mainly from our production areas, and they were all either running T8 or T12 fixtures, some metal halide...and they were failing. I was done switching them over. I didn't want to do it one by one...I knew there had to be a better solution out there," -Matt Van Beusekom. 

Crown Plastics Before and After

3) "To Save Money"

When our lighting expert LuAnn Verduzco met with Matt at Crown Plastics, Inc. to discuss his facility, she knew that this project would benefit from our expert level attention to detail, starting with a custom Investment Grade Audit. The full scope of work provided with this IGA showcased a proposed energy reduction of 45,584 kWh, or a nearly $5,000 annual savings just in energy costs. This is the equivalent of saving 30.2 acres of forest from deforestation in 1 year, or saving 70,647.6 lbs of CO2, which is the leading cause of global warming. This project not only provided Crown Plastics, Inc. with a 13.37% ROI, or a simple payback of 8.8 years, but it also had a significantly positive impact on the environment.

 

"To be honest, that was probably one of the biggest reasons why I chose to go this direction...being able to see the light output of each area, the recommended solutions and the reduction in energy costs, I felt more comfortable seeing the math behind it," -Matt Van Beusekom

 

Crown Plastics PRO 1

 

4) "To Showcase What We Do For Our Customers"

Having pride in your business and your services not only means you are confident in your results and your customer satisfaction, it also means you have invested in your facility; this is something that every business can relate to. When a business is proud to show their customers through their work space, showcasing their custom processes and their expert level in-house talent, the whole package comes together with a much stronger impact.

 

"We are a custom fabricator and distributor of plastic sheet rod and tube...what we do is really unique. 98% of what we do is driven by our customer demands; we are a custom job shop." Matt Van Beusekom, Operations Manager at Crown Plastics, Inc.

 

Take a look at the video below to see how this project provided a complete transformation to the multiple work areas of Crown Plastics, Inc.

Customer Spotlight, Crown Plastics, Inc.

LED Lighting Upgrade, Retrofit Light Fixtures, New LED Technology, Energy Savings, Investment Grade Audit

Schedule a call with our lighting consultant
 

Wendy Fry Featured in Local Magazine

 

Wendy River Valley Woman

River Valley Woman Magazine

Applauding the dynamic women of the MN River Valley.

Wendy Fry, the fearless President of The Retrofit Companies, Inc., is featured in this month's newly released edition of River Valley Woman Magazine. It should come as no surprise that Wendy was approached by the magazine when the mission of their publication is to applaud and support successful women of the MN River Valley.

Wendy's success story is worth a read, not to mention the insights that she shares with readers regarding how to find success in any business. Take it from the woman that worked her way up through the ranks and finds herself at the helm of a decades-long successful business that is growing at a rapid pace in the Lighting and Environmental Services industries. 

 

 

 


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Wendy Fry, President of The Retrofit Companies, Inc., featured in River Valley Woman Magazine, August, 2018.

  

Want to learn more about TRC and how you can become part of our successful team? Check out our job openings in your area.

TRC Lighting Division Jobs


TRC Environmental Jobs 

 

Employee Spotlight - Clay Leidall

 

TRC has always focused on hiring great people to become part of the TRC family, and now it's time for you to get to know our employees a little bit better. Beyond their expertise, our team brings a unique mix of backgrounds, hobbies and special skills to the table. Check us out!

 

Introducing Clay Leidall

Clay Leidall
 

Clay joined TRC at the beginning of June as a Summer Intern working in the Sales and Marketing departments. Clay primarily works at TRC's Owatonna location but you will also find him in the Little Canada office from time to time learning other aspects of the business.


Clay is studying at the University of Minnesota, has a passion for sports and plays on his local baseball team in Owatonna, MN. 
Check out the video to get to know more about Clay! 

 

Name and Title

Clay Leidall, Sales and Marketing Intern

 

How long have you been with TRC and what do like most about working here?

I just started here in June. The thing I like most so far would be the work environment, the people are all very helpful and nice, and it feels like a family right when you walk in.

 

Where do you go to school?

I go to the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities. I'm studying Supply Chain and Operations and maybe Marketing. I'm hoping to graduate in 2020.

 

Before working at TRC, what other jobs have you had?

I've worked for my dad's carpet cleaning business, I have also coached little league baseball and worked at a grocery store. Coaching was really fun but the others not so much.

 

What is your dream job?

I always wanted to be a sports agent and work with some of the bigger names in either baseball or basketball.

 

Why did you choose to get an internship at TRC?

I chose to get an internship to get some real-life experience just to help myself out after college. I picked TRC mainly because I knew it was reputable and a good sized company with 2 locations. This is their first time doing an internship, and I thought it would be a good learning experience in a great environment with a lot of great people.

 

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I love sports, and play amateur baseball in Owatonna. Also pheasant hunting and a lot of other outdoor activities.

EPA Launches New E-Manifest System

 

New Regulations for All Hazardous Waste Manifests

 

EPA E-Manifest Rules Page 1

The EPA is in the final stages of developing their nationwide Electronic Tracking System, with a compliance target date of June 30th, 2018.
Click the button below to learn how TRC is making it easy for you to stay compliant.
EPA E-Manifest Flyer
 
 


 

Customer Spotlight - Steve Grandgenett, Algona Municipal Utilities

 Algona Lobby

Algona Municipal Utilities
Algona, MN
  
"In the process we were able to reduce the amount of energy we use per fixture by 45-50%." - Steve Grandgenett, Algona Municipal Utilities

Located in the small town of Algona, Iowa, approximately 3 hours south of the Twin Cities, the Algona Municipal Utilities (AMU) recently renovated their office building. AMU supplies electric, water, cable, internet, and phone to Algona and the surrounding areas and always strives for energy conservation and efficiency. Built in 2003, this office not only needed some remodeling to better suit the needs of their employees and customers, but they also quickly realized that they wanted to couple this remodel with some important lighting upgrades throughout the facility. Ken Gleason, a Senior Sales Executive at The Retrofit Companies, Inc., has been working with Algona and the surrounding areas for 11 years, and was pleased to partner with them for this project. Ken and Steve Grandgenett, the Safety and Energy Efficiency Coordinator at AMU, discussed the priorities of the project, what their company was striving for, and determined their main goals were both aesthetic upgrades to match the look and feel of their office, as well as address energy conservation. Energy reduction and efficiency are cornerstones of both AMU and TRC, making for a very well suited business partnership. 

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An office remodel often brings forward some lighting issues that can be easily addressed with the proper expertise, and AMU quickly noticed some problems throughout their space. Uneven light levels throughout conference rooms, offices and common areas, as well as frequently failing lamps and ballasts were causing an unnecessary amount of maintenance. This was slowing down regular business, reducing efficiency of their staff and causing unnecessary out of pocket costs for operations. The remodel project also brought forth the desire to upgrade the look of the lights to match the design and functionality throughout the building. 

 

TRC met with Steve and his team to discuss their specific needs, possible solutions and was shown a fixture selection to ensure AMU found the light fixtures they were really looking for to match their decor. Our lighting experts guided them through this process by providing expertise and unique recommendations for their space. For each area of their facility, for example small spaces with no natural light versus large open areas with high ceilings and windows, multiple solutions were considered based on factors such as frequency of use, the amount of natural daylight and the types of individuals using the space and for what functions. A conference room is better suited to lighting controls, allowing meeting attendees to dim the lights for presentations on a projector, and a lobby area is better suited to controls that automatically adjust according to the amount of natural sunlight through daylight harvesting. Occupancy sensors in the office spaces, as well as new LED fixtures throughout, proved to be an integral part of the lighting redesign. 

 

When the desired solutions were identified, the project came together quickly and TRC ensured that the installation was done with no interruptions, working around employees’ schedules and also taking into consideration customer traffic. Our design team was able to use customer suggestions along with their lighting design expertise to best fit the needs of AMU.  

For this office space of approximately 8,000 square feet, we reduced the overall lighting energy consumption by 45-50%, and met the needs of all occupants. By switching to LED and smart lighting, the energy savings is equivalent to recycling 4.85 tons of waste instead of landfilling, or the equivalent of reducing greenhouse gases by 13.9 metric tons. 

After a few months of regular usage following the new lighting installations, we checked back in with Steve at AMU to see how things were going with the lighting upgrades. We were pleased to hear that employees felt the space was not only brighter and more evenly lit, but that the controls throughout the facility were truly helping out with employees’ daily functions allowing them to customize their lighting in their own offices as well as saving energy. 

 

 

Customer Spotlight Interview with Steve Grandgenett, Algona Municipal Utilities

LED Lighting Upgrade, Retrofit Light Fixtures, New LED Technology, Energy Savings

Schedule a call with our lighting consultant
 

Customer Spotlight - Nate Cardin, Southern Hills Golf Course

 

Photo May 10, 11 03 44 AM_preview-593376-edited  Southern Hills Golf Course

Farmington, MN

“The first thing that our customers noticed is just how much warmer and inviting the atmosphere was. The Retrofit Companies, Inc. made it so easy.” – Nate Cardin, General Manager

 

The frustration of continuously changing and replacing burnt out light bulbs and ballasts is a maintenance nightmare for anyone, and Nate Cardin, the General Manager at Southern Hills Golf course, was experiencing this daily hassle before he decided to give TRC a call.

 

We checked in with Nate to talk about the recent interior lighting renovation and his experience working with TRC. Southern Hills and TRC have partnered many times in the past, and today Nate tells us about their clubhouse remodel and why it was important for them to upgrade their lighting and why he chose to work with TRC.

 

The new technology has helped reduce their overall energy consumption by nearly 50%, equating to nearly a 50% lighting energy cost savings! That is a huge improvement and TRC worked hard to ensure Southern Hills received their maximum rebate dollars, making the decision even easier to invest in the upgrade.

 

LuAnn Verduzco, Lighting & Energy Design Consultant at TRC, talked through the maintenance problems that Nate was facing, and what options would best suit their space when replacing the old technology. Nate was looking for new fixture options that would last, require minimum maintenance, as well as enhance their interior decor and highlight the features they were investing in for their clubhouse.

 

In addition to lowering the required maintenance, the new LED technology that was installed provided a drastic improvement on the distribution and quality of light throughout their entire facility. The changes were noticeable immediately, and both customers and staff alike felt that the new lighting worked with the natural light of the clubhouse and brought a warmth to the space.

 

 

 

 

Customer Spotlight Interview with Nate Cardin, Southern Hills Golf Course

 

LED Lighting Upgrade, Retrofit Light Fixtures, New LED Technology, Energy Savings

Schedule a call with our lighting consultant
 

Employee Spotlight - Brett Weber

 

 

TRC has always focused on hiring great people to become part of the TRC family, and now it's time for you to get to know our employees a little bit better. Beyond their expertise, our team brings a unique mix of backgrounds, hobbies and special skills to the table. Check us out!

 

Employee Spotlight Brett Weber

Introducing Brett Weber

Brett joined TRC just over 6 months ago, and already he has become part of the family by connecting with both our employees and customers. You will find Brett bright and early in the office supporting both the Sales and Customer Service components of the business, not to mention his keen ability to make a fine cup of coffee.

 

You can always count on Brett for a great story about a recent athletic adventure, whether it's hockey, softball or golf. This guy was the class clown growing up, and we get to enjoy his laughter and spirit every day. Check out the video below to get to know more about Brett!

 

 

Name and Title

Brett Weber, Account Manager

 

How long have you been with TRC and what do you like most about working here?

About 6 months. A lot of companies will say it's like a family, but here you actually feel it on a daily basis. Whether you've been here twenty years or 1 week, everyone treats each employee with the same respect.

Before working at TRC, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

I was a pool boy...and it's not all that it's cracked up to be. A lot of weird animals end up in pools.

What did you want to be growing up?

Sports Center Anchor was one of my dream jobs. I would have to come up with my own catch phrase.

 

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I played a year of junior hockey after high school. I got into probably 5 fights that year; one of them I definitely lost. My career hockey fighting record is 4-1, so I'm satisfied with that.

 

What is your favorite movie?

Happy Gilmore. It combines both golf and hockey and it's a classic.

 

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I'm in a golf league, softball league, and hockey league. I like to stay active.

Industry Expert NALMCO Highlights LED Project

LM&M Magazine

 

A Must-Read in the Lighting Industry.

LM&M, the official NALMCO publication, provides information on the latest industry trends and developments in planned lighting maintenance and lighting technology — content that’s beneficial for NALMCO members as well as owner-occupiers and other industry professionals.  

 

TRC is thrilled to grace the pages of the NALMCO LM&M Magazine as a featured Project Spotlight in the newly released May issue. NALMCO is an organization that has really set the standard for Lighting Quality Management and brings together business experts in the Lighting Industry.

We are a proud member of NALMCO and are honored to share our case study, focusing on LED lighting, design and energy savings in schools and school districts, with the loyal LM&M readers. We get a lot of questions from our customers regarding success stories that they can relate to, and so many businesses face similar challenges to those that were resolved in this project. Check out the original case study Lakeville School District - Lighting Case Study.

 

LM&M May Cover

 

 

Are these issues sounding familiar? Take a look at our Investment Grade Audit E-Book to learn why this the likely the next step for you.get a smart start to your lighting projectReady to take that next step and improve your lighting? Have questions about if you should go with LED lights and why?

Talk to a Lighting Expert

 

 

Customer Spotlight - Bob Shellen, Amesbury Truth

 Amesbury Truth

Amesbury Truth, Owatonna, MN
Manufacturer of Window and Door Products
  
“Michelle, Jeff and her team have done very well taking care of Amesbury Truth; not just our universal and non-hazardous waste, but hazardous as well.” – Bob Shellen, Amesbury Truth

 

Today we checked in with Bob at Amesbury Truth in Owatonna, MN to talk about their business and working with TRC.

We have partnered on both Environmental Services projects and Lighting projects over the years, and today Bob tells us about one of the very first projects that was a success and why he continues to work with TRC.

 

 

 

Customer Spotlight Interview with Bob Shellen, Amesbury Truth
Lab Packs, Universal Waste, Hazardous Waste, Chemical Waste

Request a recycling pick up
 

Employee Spotlight - Michelle Gwin

 

TRC has always focused on hiring great people to become part of the TRC family, and now it's time for you to get to know our employees a little bit better. Beyond their expertise, our team brings a unique mix of backgrounds, hobbies and special skills to the table. Check us out!

 

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Introducing Michelle Gwin

On any given day you can find her interacting with customers, keeping spirits high around the office and making sure our Environmental Services are thriving.

 

Michelle has been with TRC for 10 years coming up in September, 2018 and has grown with the company, now representing Business Development in the Environmental Services division.

 

Outside of work you may find Michelle enjoying a new favorite craft beer, getting physical on her Roller Derby team, or having fun outdoors at her family cabin on the boat, the ATV's or on a hike!

 

 

Name and Title

Michelle Gwin, Business Development

 

How long have you been with TRC and why do you choose to work here?

10 years coming up in September. I love working here because it's basically like working for a family. We work hard, we play hard, we hang out outside of work, it's a fun time.

 

What do you like most about working at TRC?

Definitely the people. Where else can you find a company that is environmentally friendly, locally owned, small business, and cares about every single one of their customers and employees? It's a phenomenal company to work for.

Before working at TRC, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

I used to sell Real Estate for 10 years and have seen just about anything you can imagine in people's home. Yeah, that got weird.

What is one of your guilty pleasures?

Craft Beer. I love traveling to different states, trying new breweries and different styles of beer. 

 

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I have decided, at the age of 42, to start a Roller Derby team. I'm going to be the President of the Owatonna Steel Wheels, and we are hoping to have our first bout in 2019! I'm hoping to create some diversity in the community I live in.

 

What is your favorite movie, book or band?

There's Something About Mary is definitely my favorite movie. She is quirky and I can relate to that!

 

If you could be any super hero, who would you be?

Wonder Woman.

 

What are your hobbies outside of work?

Roller Derby, total body workout classes, and my kids!

 

What would be a dream vacation?

My dream vacation would be to sit on a beach in Hawaii for a week, or two. I would bring my daughter.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

A firefighter. I thought it would be cool to lug somebody over your shoulder.

 

5 Ways Lighting Can Save Our Planet

 

Chances are that your business has discussed ways to limit their carbon footprint, be more environmentally friendly and maybe even kick starting some green initiatives. Learn more about how easy it is have a positive impact on our planet with this 5 Easy Ways Lighting Can Save Our Planet infographic. 

 

Lighting Can Save the Planet - Infographic

How-To Find the Best Energy Rebates


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You probably know that there are a lot of energy rebates out there that may save you money upfront or have a great payback in the end. But are you sure you are maximizing your savings through energy rebate programs? Do you hear about rebate programs in your area but are not sure what you quality for?

TRC has a team of experts that help you find rebates through utility companies and other programs to reduce upfront costs and increase your payback. We pride ourselves on serving our customers with a full service rebate program from start to finish, providing the research, expertise and best possible options for each project as we stay on top of the ever-changing rebate programs.

Step 1: Make rebates easy

This is the easy part, just call one of our experts and we will help you find the best rebate programs in your area.

Schedule a call with our lighting consultant

But if you want to know a little bit more before calling...

Step 2: Know your market

The LED market is expanding rapidly and this energy-efficient lighting is becoming more affordable. The utility companies are adjusting the rebate levels based on these trends. Rebates for some LED lighting categories have reduced in 2018, but new lighting categories get added to the rebate programs as the lighting technologies continue to change and develop. There is still time to take advantage of the opportunity to save on your energy efficient LED lighting.

Step 3: find the right rebate program

We can help you determine what programs you qualify for and where you can maximize your savings. Many businesses will qualify for programs under the following utilities, however most utility companies (small or large) offer some sort of rebate program. Call us and we will do the work for you!

Xcel Energy

  • Prescriptive and custom rebates
  • Larger users often qualify for Xcel rebates
  • Rebate Finder Tool

New Call-to-action

CEE (Xcel Energy territory program)

  • Calculated based off of total energy savings
  • If you are a smaller user within an Xcel territory, you may qualify for these rebates

SMMPA (Southern MN Municipal Power Agency)

  • Prescriptive and custom rebates

Step 4: take it a step further for more savings

Have you considered installing lighting controls in your building for even greater savings? Lighting controls can save thousands on annual energy bills while increasing comfort in your building and making it easier to run. As part of Xcel Energy’s Efficiency Controls program, you may qualify for a cash incentive that corresponds to the energy-savings potential of your control system.

The more energy your project saves, the more your business can earn rebate dollars.

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By working with our rebate experts, you could be saving your business hundred or thousands of dollars just by letting us guide you. It’s so easy, call us and we will walk you through the simple steps.

Schedule a call with our lighting consultant


 

Lakeville School District - Lighting Case Study

 

Lakeville Schools (MN) and The Retrofit Companies, Inc. (TRC) recently partnered to discuss the district’s 2 and 10 year plans at Eastview Elementary School. Both of the strategic plans included goals of implementing energy saving lighting solutions across the entire district. Specifically, the 2 and 10 year plans included exterior lighting along with a parking lot that needed to be completely replaced. The goal was to complete these projects by the end of summer 2017 before the start of the school year. These projects were a combination of replacing old, damaged light poles, with new, and replacing all of the existing inefficient exterior lighting. This school would be the first of many completed during the first two years of their strategic plan. With a goal of improving light quality, increasing light levels, while creating a standard technology for the school district, Sara Guyette of Lakeville Schools and LuAnn Verduzco of TRC developed a plan to perform a study on the exterior lighting along with a district wide study to replace all interior and exterior existing metal-halide inefficient and unsafe fixtures. Partnering with TRC, Lakeville School District was able to make an educated decision to properly address their lighting concerns while implementing energy savings.

 BEFORE W LIGHT POLLUTION-1.jpg

BEFORE: Parking lot with light pollution

PROBLEM:

The district lacked a focused energy-efficient plan that could be utilized across the board, and with multiple goals in their strategic plans, Sara and the Board saw the value in partnering with lighting design and energy efficiency experts at TRC to help them address their needs.

 AFTER NO LIGHT POLLUTION-1.jpg

AFTER: Parking Lot with no light pollution

ANALYSIS AND SOLUTION:

Lakeville partnered with TRC to conduct the district wide Investment Grade Audit to determine the full extent of their lighting needs. Photometric layouts were also provided to Lakeville Schools to ensure industry standard light levels would be installed and would meet their long term strategic goals. Through the study, Lakeville decided to move forward and requested competing bids using the equal scope of work, fixture specifications, and performance standards. TRC was awarded the work and recommended the proper solutions and design expertise for their parking lot and exterior lighting as the first phase of their district wide strategic plan.

Lakeville photometrics.pngEastview Elementary School Exterior Photometrics

Implementing the project presented certain challenges across the board, including construction deadlines and project management for all key partners involved in the total project. With a parking lot replacement, there is a strategic plan involved all the way from coordination of materials, the architect, the sub-contractors and the building engineers being available to provide access to the building when needed.  Some unforeseen circumstances came up during the project, but TRC and all other partners involved were able to work an alternate schedule to ensure the project was wrapped up before the start of the school year. Having confidence and trust in the vendors and contractors that you use for projects is vital to timely implementation and problem solving.

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BEFORE: Basketball Court 

PROJECT GOALS & SUCCESSES

  • Replace and recycle all metal halide and other inefficient fixtures
  • Drastically improved light quality, distribution and levels
  • Decreased lighting energy costs by 44%
  • Annual energy savings of $2,500.00/yr.
  • Simple payback of 7.35 years
  • Cut maintenance costs, new fixtures have 5 yr warranty, minimum of 10 year life rating on new fixture components
  • New fixtures contain no mercury and are much better for the environment

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AFTER: Basketball Court

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

  • Carbon Savings: greenhouse gas reduction metric tons equivalent to 22.7
  • Passenger cars not driven for one year: 4.4
  • Gallons of gasoline saved: 2,540.50
  • Acres of forest preserved from deforestation: 0.22
  • Tons of waste recycled vs. land filled: 7.90

 

Schedule a call with our lighting consultant

Shedding some light on led lamp recycling requirements

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It is undisputed that LED lamps have become the leading lighting technology, offering the benefits of energy savings, longevity and quality of light. With the rise of their popularity, several of our customers have inquired as to the regulations regarding their proper disposal and recycling.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s publication W-HW4-62: “Although the bulb portion of most light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are not hazardous and thus not (Universal Waste) lamps, the circuit board to which the LEDs are attached is a regulated electronic waste in Minnesota.” See more from the MPCA on E-waste recycling here.

Some of the reasoning behind the MPCA’s decision to regulate these devices is found in the materials used to construct the lamps themselves. Circuit boards have long been known to contain toxic lead solder (along with several other toxic substances), and is regulated in the State of Minnesota.

To help illustrate the situation, we have taken apart several screw-in style LED bulbs to show the hidden circuit board. Red arrows annotate the photographs and highlight the silver colored solder.

IMG_5855_ARROW EDIT.jpg

 If you happen to be outside of the State of Minnesota, be sure to check with your local authorities as to the regulations in your area. Even if your State permits you to “throw them away”, the better choice is to recycle them. After all, why would you just landfill them, knowing that your decision will have a lasting impact on our environment, and the world that our children will inherit.

With over 25 years in the lighting and environmental business, we know about LED lighting and waste regulations!

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the regulations of LED lamps and fixtures: 

Consult our haz waste team

If you have not yet made the change to LED lighting, we can help there too! There are many things to consider when making the move to LED; don't take on the project alone:  

Consult a Lighting Pro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing a Reputable Partner Minimizes Your Risks for Regulated Waste Related Fines

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One of the most important concepts for generators of waste to understand is Cradle-to-Grave.  You can see the EPA’s definition HERE.  But, in a nut shell, this means that the generator of waste is responsible to ultimate disposal.  Nothing will relinquish a generator of this responsibility and there’s no expiration date or time limit.  Hiring someone else to transport and dispose of your waste does NOT transfer responsibility. 

Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/cradle-to-grave.html

 

Recently, charges have been filed against two vendors who were previously trusted to properly handle their clients’ waste.

Luminaire Environmental and Technologies Inc. Plymouth, MN

http://www.startribune.com/plymouth-waste-disposal-operators-charged-in-fraud-scheme/446253773

Recycletronics Sioux City, IA

https://resource-recycling.com/e-scrap/2017/08/17/sioux-city-crt-stockpiles-prompt-enforcement-action/

Because the actions of your chosen vendors can also negatively affect your company image, as well as result in fines and other additional fees for you, it’s important to know the following about anyone you allow to manage your regulated waste:

  • Can they provide names and contacts to current customers (similar to you) as references?
  • Does the vendor have adequate insurance? They should be able to provide not only commercial liability, but also pollution coverage.
  • Where does the waste go? Can the vendor provide all downstream channel and facility information?
  • What documentation and paperwork is provided? Depending on the waste type, waste profiles and hazardous waste manifests may be required. Certificates of Recycling/disposal should be provided every shipment, and your vendor should be able to provide you with usage reports, as requested.

You should be prepared and have a plan. [Check out our blog for help preparing a waste management plan.] Monitor and manage your plan, and the service provided to ensure you are in compliance should never be overlooked.

At The Retrofit Companies, your environmental compliance is our top priority. We offer a range of environmental services, assisting with material inventories, legal documentation, and access to approved packaging options. In addition to proper shipping procedures and an extensive network of disposal partners, rest assured that your waste handling and recycling needs are covered by TRC. We're here to be the hazardous waste recycling and disposal partner you are looking for.  

Consult our haz waste team

 

Tank Talk: Tank Maintenance and Cleaning Services

To continue to provide the environmental services that our customers need from us. We have recently started promoting our tank cleaning and maintenance services.

Tanks can be found in all kinds of buildings, including schools, manufacturing, and any building that, at one point, used a boiler. Some tanks will get used and maintenanced regularly, while others will be forgotten, until there is an issue.

We can help with either scenario, no matter what type of tank it is. Let's take a look at the different kinds of tanks that require service and cleaning: 

Neutralization Tanks:

Neutralization tanks are attached to sewer lines and serve to neutralize any acids prior to discharging into the sewer system.  These tanks are commonly found in schools and other lab-type facilities, where chemicals get, intentionally and unintentionally, poured down the drain. Even if no acids are being sewered, the tanks still fill up with sediment and can clog over time. 

Here is a diagram of a tank to give you a better idea of how they work.  Our service includes removal of old rock/sludge, packaging, testing, disposal, and installation of new rock.  The old rock/sludge can have enough heavy metals built up to be regulated as hazardous waste, testing will inform that process.

Tank Diagram.jpg

Holding Tanks:

Holding tanks are used in all kinds of manufacturing processes.  Anytime a manufacturer has large quantities of liquid product that they need to hold and use continuously they’re likely to have some sort of tank system for storage. The tanks are used to store a product necessary for the manufacturing process.  Regardless of the product, these tanks will occasionally need to be cleaned out to remove sedimentary buildup, impurities, and to check the tank integrity.  Often times, holding tank work is completed during regular plant closures in order to avoid interrupting the manufacturing process. 

Maintenance Equipment/Tanks

If your facility operates a boiler, it’s likely you have back-up fuel tanks to continue operation in the absence of municipal gas.  Virtually every school and multi-story office building is operating a boiler. 

These tanks vary greatly in size depending on the size of the boiler.  Many facilities are switching from #6 fuel oil to #2 fuel oil.  If this is happening in your facility, the old #6 tanks need to be cleaned out before they can be decommissioned.  Additionally, the #2 fuel oil tanks may require maintenance due to contamination or gelling of oil. 

Download our Tank Cleaning Profile to gather information on your tanks. Then, consult our team to help get your tank service scheduled!

Get the Industrial Tank Cleaning Profile Form

 

Consult our haz waste team

 

 

 

HOW DOES HAZARDOUS WASTE CLEAN UP WORK?

Do you have a room, closet, or cabinet used for chemical storage? Maybe your business has a few old cans of paint, or an entire warehouse aisle of miscellaneous products that sit half-unused year after year, and you're not really sure how to start getting it all cleaned up safely and responsibly?

Keep reading to learn about the TRC process for managing hazardous waste cleanups for our clients, with attention to details, and in compliance with DOT and EPA regulations.

We start in one of two manners, either the client provides a waste inventory, or TRC comes on site to organize waste and create the inventory. Here's how each option works:

CLIENT CREATED INVENTORY

Client sorts and inventories their waste, and then provides TRC with that inventory along with SDS sheets for all wastes. The Environmental team likes to have pictures, so they know how much and what types of packaging to prepare for, and to get a clear idea of what is on site. TRC will often ask for that from the customer. TRC is then able to create a recycling and disposal estimate based on that inventory. The actual invoice will be based on the actual waste found on-site, plus time and packaging material needed to prepare the waste according to DOT and EPA compliance. This is certainly not a solution for everyone, and we do provide a simple hazardous waste inventory guide to help clients, but many people choose to have TRC take care of their chemical waste clean up from the start.

hazardous-waste-inventory.jpg

TRC CREATED INVENTORY

If your hazardous waste clean up project is large or complicated, or if your company doesn't have in-house environmental safety expertise, having TRC work on your chemical waste clean up from the start is a helpful solution. This is a tremendous benefit when internal resources or knowledge are not available to you. Clients simply contact TRC and schedule a time for the TRC Environmental Services team to come on-site. Under a T&M agreement, our professional team will:

  • sort your waste
  • organize wate by type
  • complete an inventory of your waste
  • package the waste in approved transport containers
  • prepare the required paperwork for shipment

Finally, TRC loads the waste onto our truck and hauls it off site to be processed and/or recycled. Our fees for this service include mileage charged to get the team on-site, an hourly labor rate for staff, and cost for packaging used needed, along with the disposal fees. One job, one invoice. We asked one of our recent clients about his experience using this exact service. He recommends, "Hire someone like TRC to handle it from start to finish. It was a big process, and your guys made it so much easier. It takes a lot of pressure off of you by having a qualified company handle it in a proper way."

 

hazardous-waste-sorted-by-type.jpg

 

At this point you have chosen to either create a waste inventory on your own or hire TRC to complete one, and your project will be handed from the account representative over to our environmental services team, the people trained to safely handle and mange hazardous wastes. 

hazardous-waste-lab-pack.jpg

Our team arrives on site at the scheduled time and begin to categorize all of the waste by DOT hazard classes and chemical compatibility. Each category is then inventoried before being packaged into UN-rated drums. The void space in the drums is filled with a loose packing media to prevent items from shifting during transit and to soak up any liquids that may spill. Each drum is assigned EPA waste codes and a shipping description from the DOT Hazardous Materials Table. All items are shipped either on a hazardous materials bill of lading or a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest. The on-site team prepares all of the shipping documents, labels, markings, and profiles required to legally transport your waste for disposal and/or recycling. The profile forms describe the waste to the disposal facility to ensure that an appropriate treatment plan is utilized. Clients receive copies of all shipping documents for their records.

hazardous-waste-shipment.jpg

Once the waste is shipped from the client's site is it brought back to TRC's licenses, 10-day transfer facility in Little Canada, MN. From there it is placed onto a semi-trailer with waste from other generators (clients) and shipped to the disposal facility for final processing. Upon receipt of the waste, the disposal facility signs the shipping documents and sends a copy of the now completed shipping document back to the original generator (that's you!) to help them maintain compliance.

You can read more about hazardous waste recycling and Envrionmental Services with TRC, or consult our team now with your questions!

 

Free Hazardous Waste Consultation

CRT TV and Monitor Recycling

 

 

crt-recycling-process.jpgUPDATED FEBRUARY 2017

CRTs and CRT Glass were once easily recycled into new CRTs; however, the demand for new CRTs has collapsed in favor of new flat panel technologies.

Because of rising costs, negative economic incentives, and shifts in CRT glass markets, some CRT processors and recyclers are choosing to store the glass indefinitely, rather than send it for recycling (or disposal), which increases the risk of mismanagement and/or abandonment of the CRTs.

– US EPA, September 2014 

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH WASTE CRT's?

In the electronics recycling industry, waste processing changes over time as methods improve or markets shift. CRT recycling used to be what is known as a 'closed loop process' where old leaded glass tubes were recycled into new ones; however, new technology does not use leaded glass tubes. (Think: flat panel tv's and computer monitors.) There is less need for the leaded glass which used to be a commodity, so they are getting problematic for some recyclers.

We now know that some computer recycling companies stockpiled and left behind over 100 million pounds of CRT tubes and glass when they went out of business, and that "Materials Processing Corp. (MPC) in Minnesota went out of business after being fined $125,000 by the state for improperly storing crushed cathode ray tubes." One company in Kentucky admitted to illegally dumping electronic waste into a hole in their backyard.

As a waste generator, you are responsible for seeing to the safe and legal disposal or recycling of your end-of-life electronics. Finding a reputable recycling partner is the best way to reduce your liability. A comprehensive e-waste recycling program protects your company from unnecessary complications and costs while improving your business and the environment.

what happEns to the crt's we COLLECT?

Your compliance, security, and safety is our priority. TRC’s partner recycles all equipment to its individual commodity components and separates all hazardous materials on-site to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements. They maintain a state-of-the art, automated de-manufacturing and recycling system that provides an effective, economical solution for recycling obsolete monitors and televisions into various new glass uses and products. Using downstream vendors that provide a recycling or reuse process is the preferred method of recycling by state and federal agencies. Waste is sorted by type and chemistry to produce glass that is ready for the downstream companies, This process for CRT glass processing meets and exceeds all federal regulations and guidelines regarding the CRT Rule. All protocols meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations, while safely processing the glass with no exposure to the environment.

TRC's approved partners offer data security, certified recycling and end facilities, a vetted recycling process, and documentation you need for reporting, including a certificate of recycling. Visit our webpage about items accepted and be assured you safely and responsibly recycle waste like used electronics from your business.

Ready to recycle? Schedule a pick up at your business now!

Request Recycling Pick Up

Has your old, unused material become Explosive?

potentially-explosive-waste.jpg

UPDATED MARCH 2017

We are often asked to properly dispose of hazardous wastes that have collected over many years, for schools and all types of businesses. These are chemicals and products that were used for maintenance, or in a lab or classroom at one time, that have outlived their usefulness. These products often spend many years in a back room, storage closet, or shed, and aren't easy to dispose of alongside standard trash items. It is important to safely and responsibly handle these products, as many product characteristics change over time and some even become unstable and explosive. Today we will share with you a specific type of compound that we come across quite often, that does just that.

 

WHAT IS A "PEROXIDE FORMING-COMPOUND?"

Peroxides are a class of chemical compounds with unusual stability problems and are one of the most hazardous classes of chemicals routinely handled in the laboratory.

Peroxides can be formed via intentional chemical reactions (i.e., ozonolysis), but just as hazardous is inadvertent peroxide formation during storage of certain compounds. Some compounds form explosive peroxides. Others are polymerizable unsaturated compounds that can participate in a runaway, explosive polymerization reaction catalyzed by peroxides. To varying degrees, shock, heat, or friction may cause unexpected explosion of peroxidized organic chemicals.
SOURCE

We talked with Nick, one of our Environmental Specialists, and asked a few questions about benzoyl peroxide compounds and the proper way to handle hazardous waste disposal for these chemicals.

Where does this compound come from- why is it dangerous?

The product shown above was originally the cream hardener used to set automotive body filler. The primary active ingredient is an organic peroxide called Benzoyl Peroxide. This type of chemical, along with quite a few others, can form shock sensitive peroxide crystals as they age and dry out. Essentially, they turn into explosives over time. These aren’t stable explosives like C4 that require a large amount of energy to set them off though. They are very unstable and can explode seemingly spontaneously.

Are these compounds prevalent? Aside from the automotive body filler, what sort of products can this happen to?

I come across chemicals that we suspect have become explosive fairly regularly. In addition to automotive body filler, we see these types of chemicals in other common products. Many types of activators and catalysts for two part systems contain either benzoyl peroxide or methyl ethyl ketone peroxide, both of which can become unstable. In addition, there are a number of common laboratory solvents which can form unstable peroxide crystals. The two most common solvents we come across that exhibit these characteristics are tetrahydrofuran and ethyl ether.

What do you do when you arrive on a job site and find them?

When we encounter these materials we segregate them as safely as possible and work with the customer and a team of reactive specialists to safely remove the materials from the site.

What should our clients do if they find something like this or think they might have one of these compounds on site? How can they safely address this or identify a safety concern?

In the case of an emergency, they should always call 911. If it is a non-emergency situation, then we can help. It is important not to disturb the materials any more than necessary. I typically recommend that the area be quarantined to the best of the customer’s ability. Once you notify your TRC Environmental Representative, we will work to find a resolution ASAP.

Thanks, Nick. That was really helpful! 

If you have old material that is not being used at your facility, it is probably time to safely remove it! Click below to read the interview with one of our clients who had this waste in their facility. Find out how they were able to safely manage and properly dispose of it!

Managing Haz Waste in Schools Interview

Interview: Chemical Waste Clean Up in Schools

Chemical-waste-clean-up-in-school.jpg

Today we talk to Dan Swanson, Building and Grounds Supervisor at Hermantown Schools about his recent first experience with The Retrofit Companies’ environmental services division. Dan is very near his retirement and working to tie up loose ends before he leaves his facility to the new supervisor. One of his looming jobs was to safely and responsibly take care of special wastes that had accumulated over the years. He chose to hire TRC for the first time ever to handle this chemical waste clean up project, and was willing to take some time to share the story with us. Let’s see what he has to say!

 

How did you hear about TRC? 

Your rep contacted me by e-mail. The timing was right, we needed the service, so I got in touch with them.

 

What made you decide to work with us? And what services did TRC provide for you?

We had a fair amount of hazardous waste build-up. There were a lot of things to take care of: paint, cleaning solutions, lights, etc. Our local waste company required us to inventory all the waste prior to disposal, but with TRC, they came and did all that.

 

Was TRC staff experienced & knowledgeable; were we able to provide a meaningful partnership and make your chemical clean up successful?

They did a great job. We had a short time line and everything just worked out. Our district is building new schools, and I’m set to retire shortly. It was important to take care of the waste before the new guy takes over.

 

How responsive was your TRC Sales Rep to your questions or concerns?

They are very responsive. Our clean-up project was taken care of in just a couple weeks from the first time I called.

 

Tell us about scheduling your cleanup – Were we able to fit your ideal schedule?

I had a small window of time and TRC was very helpful in meeting that time requirement. It took the stress away.

 

Tell us about your perception of value for the hazardous waste recycling service provided. Was it a good value compared to any other vendors that also provided quotes for the same project?
TRC was competitively priced, and we were happy with the quality of their service.

 

What advice would you give to other schools that wish clean out their chemical wastes?

Hire someone like TRC to handle it from start to finish. It was a big process, and your guys made it so much easier.

 

Would you recommend us to your colleagues? If yes, what was the greatest benefit you received by working with us?
Yes.  It takes a lot of pressure off of you by having a qualified company handle it in a proper way.

 

Thanks for the interview, Dan! We're happy to hear that your experience was a good one. It really does sound like managing hazardous waste was made simpler by working with TRC.

When you are ready to clean up the hazardous and chemical waste in your facility, learn how to choose a reputable hazardous waste vendor or get our inventory kit for free!

Hazardous Waste inventory help

Aerosol Can Recycling as Universal Waste in Minnesota

aerosol-disposal.jpg

 

The MPCA has officially adopted aerosols into the universal waste program.  Aerosol cans may now be recycled on our standard Universal Waste Bill of Lading with TRC in the state of Minnesota. When you schedule a pick up for other recyclable waste like, fluorescent lamps, batteries, electronic waste (computers), or mercury, you can now add in any waste aerosol cans without additional paperwork under TRC's new program for these common wastes. 

WHAT IS AEROSOL SPRAY?

Aerosol spray is a type of dispensing system which creates an aerosol mist of liquid particles. This is used with a can or bottle that contains a payload and propellant under pressure. When the container's valve is opened, the payload is forced out of a small hole and emerges as an aerosol or mist... (wikipedia.com)

 

WASTE AEROSOLS ACCEPTED UNDER TRC PROGRAM:

  • Spray Paints
  • Air Fresheners
  • Spray Foam Insulation
  • Oven Cleaners
  • Insecticide Sprays
  • Spray lubricants
  • And many more…

COMMONLY MISTAKEN WASTES NOT ACCEPTED UNDER TRC PROGRAM:

  • Propane gas cylinders
  • MAP gas cylinders
  • Automotive refrigerants
  • Lighters/fluid refills
  • Calibration gas cylinders
  • Spray foam (cylinders)
  • Engine starter (cylinders)

 

The Retrofit Companies has designed this program for businesses in Minnesota as an outlet to simplify aerosol can recycling, this includes containers with a spray nozzle top or valve where pressurized contents are released as a mist. Although, pressurized gas containers are not considered a part of this program; TRC can help you responsibly dispose of them, just contact our Haz Team anytime! (All businesses outside of Minnesota, our team is still able to assist in finding the best, proper recycling or disposal method for you. Contact our Haz Team)

 

If you are ready for a pick up at your Minnesota business:

Request a recycling pick up

INTERVIEW: Planning your community recycing event with TRC

UPDATED MARCH 2017

Community-Recycling-Event-Maplewood-MN.jpg

Today, we are interviewing Chris from City of Maplewood. He has worked with TRC to organize community recycling collection events for the past several collection seasons. The last event was successful for them, so we asked if he was willing to talk a bit about their experience. We're happy to say that he was and said we could share the conversation here. Hopefully, this insight will help other communities with how they can start a community recycling collection. Keep reading to learn about how their successful event came together!

Tell us about selecting the date/time for the event.
There really is no rhyme or reason for our date. That was a day that the Aldrich Arena was available and it also worked for the majority of the vendors that we talked with.


How did you select the site for the event to be held? What logistics and accessibility concerns did you have to take into consideration?
The Aldrich Arena is a great site to run a cleanup event. It has a lot of available space for the vendor staging and has the ability to handle long vehicle lines safely if it gets busy.


Did City of Maplewood absorb any recycling costs on behalf of the residents?
The city normally covers around 50-60% of the costs for disposal.


Why did you select to work with TRC? 
We have worked with TRC for the past few events and their staff has been very helpful and professional in during the events. The city also went out for pricing and TRC has the most competitive pricing.

cars-and-recycling-drop-off.jpg

ALL PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CITY OF MAPLEWOOD: Cars line up at the site, and drive through to drop off their appliances, computers, and other recyclable wastes. Generally, residents stay inside their vehicles while workers unload. (left) TRC workers and event volunteers unload vehicles, and sort items to be loaded onto recycling trucks. (right) 

Was TRC staff experienced & knowledgeable? Were we able to provide a meaningful partnership and make your event successful?
The staff was great to work with. The only issue was that our event was so well attended that the trucks filled up and the driver had to swing back and make a few trips to get everything from the site to their warehouse after the event. Even with the craziness of the event their staff was still able to handle the extreme workload placed on them!

Was there any community volunteer involvement to help offset labor costs at the event and promote community involvement, or did you have any volunteers at the event to help unload and manage traffic?
The city partnered with Ramsey County Sentence to Serve for volunteers and has staff from both Tennis sanitation (the events vendor) and some folks from the City’s Public works crews. 


At the time of the event (or after) did you receive any resident feedback on the event? 
People loved the event! The lines stayed moving and the weather was wonderful. The last few years it has rained or snowed during the event so people just seemed generally happy to enjoy the nice day.


How does the city promote these events to its residents?
We use newsletters, Twitter, Facebook, and our website.

appliance-recycling-and-collection.jpgAppliances are loaded onto trucks to be shipped and recycled at a TRC end-facility. (left) Palletized CPU's and televisions in a cubic yard box are prepared for shipping while on site before loading into trucks. (right)


What advice would you give to other communities that wish to plan their first, or improve their existing recycling collection events?
Plan, promote, repeat! Also, talk with the vendors to make sure that everything will be in place and that everyone understands what is expected at the event from staff and vendors.

Outside of these events, how does your city help promote responsible waste disposal? How can people get rid of these items if they don’t come to a collection event?
We receive many calls from residents and we always work to direct them to responsible methods of disposal. The Ramsey County A to Z disposal guide is a very helpful, too, for residents.

How can people get in touch with City of Maplewood or find more information about your community events?
Our website at www.maplewoodmn.gov has all the information, people can also follow us on twitter @MaplewoodMN.


Thanks again to City of Maplewood for choosing TRC as a partner & to Chris for the interview. If your community is thinking about planning an event, start by reading "How to Plan Your Own Community Recycling Day" right here on the blog.

How to plan your community recycling day

 

 

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