American Orthodontics a perfect fit for Orion Environmental Stewardship Award

June 4, 2004
Dental firm saves 193,180 kWh per year with Orion lighting retrofit.

By taking an estimated 193,180 kilowatt-hour (kWh) 'bite' out of its annual electrical power consumption through a lighting retrofit, American Orthodontics Inc., of Sheboygan WI, has been selected to receive Orion Energy Systems' Environmental Stewardship Award.

The 193,180 kWh reduction is the basis for the award because it represents electrical power that, due to the lighting project, now does not need to be generated at all.

According to the Federal EPA, this reduction is the environmental equivalent of planting 35 acres of trees each year, or a total of 709 acres over the 20-year life of the Orion fixtures. It is also the equivalent of removing 547 autos from area roads, or saving 17,562 gallons of gasoline or 12,944 barrels of fuel oil over the same 20-year span.

Not generating the 193,180 kWh each year also means that some 145 tons of carbon dioxide, 40 tons of carbon, one ton of sulfur dioxide and one ton of nitrogen oxides will not be released into the local atmosphere each year.

The award commemorates this effort.

"We were looking for a couple of things," Mike Bogenschuetz, American Orthodontics' Vice-President of Manufacturing, said of the entire lighting project. "We wanted to cut our energy costs, cut our maintenance costs and increase the brightness of our facilities for our employees. So we had Orion come in and we did some prototype areas and were able to measure the light output and calculate the savings."

"For us it was really a win-win situation," Bogenschuetz continued. "We were interested in changing over our lights because we had a lot of maintenance issues -- a lot of burned-out ballasts and a lot of burned-out bulbs. Ever since the project there's a lot of maintenance that's been taken out of the equation. So we saved on maintenance costs, reduced our energy consumption and increased the candlepower of the lighting to make it brighter in the plant.

"All the way around it was a good solution."

Bogenschuetz said that about one-third of the project involved replacing metal halide lighting and the other two-thirds ballasts and tubes in American Orthodontics' 60,000 square foot manufacturing facility. Numerous task lights at workstations � necessary under the old lighting system � had also been removed.

"The results have been good," Bogenschuetz said. "We've been very happy with the results and with the award."

Making the substantial energy savings involved possible is the fact that Orion Illuminator fixtures have been engineered to 'harvest' light from all sides of the tube with a highly reflective surface, which directs it downward to where it is usable. Because of this, The Illuminator provides more light from far less energy than standard fixtures. Operating cost reductions of over 50 percent are typical of Illuminator installations.

The Illuminator is typically used with T8 full-spectrum fluorescent tubes and electronic ballasts. These turn on instantly, provide a much more natural type of light than older fluorescent types, and are more popular with employees in the typical workplace.

The Illuminator has earned several U.S. patents and recently won for Orion Wisconsin's prestigious Spirit of Ecology and Manufacturer of the Year awards, as well.

"We've believed for a long time that an increase in energy efficiency does not have to mean doing without," commented Orion president Neal Verfuerth. "American Orthodontics actually received better lighting for less money � lower operating costs � and that is the way we like to see things work. Moves like this not only benefit a company directly through lower costs and the environment by what is not put into it, but also benefit our economy, as well, by making much better use of electric power. I congratulate American Orthodontics on this noteworthy achievement."

About American Orthodontics: For over thirty years, American Orthodontics has provided world-class products to orthodontists around the world. Its product line is broader that its competitors', yet specialized enough to meet the needs of the most discriminating clinicians because the company focuses on the unique needs of orthodontists and on integrating high-tech materials into its manufacturing processes. This is coupled with a strong ability to create unique, customized prescriptions, to offer personalized service to every customer and to ship 92% of its orders within 24 hours and 95% within two days. The company maintains 35 full time sales representatives covering all of the U.S. and Canada, has subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and Mexico, and over 50 international distributors. American Orthodontics received the 2002 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Grand Award for companies with 100-299 employees. Visit the company's website at

About Orion Energy Systems: Orion Energy Systems, Plymouth WI, manufactures and markets energy efficient lighting solutions for the manufacturing, distribution center, warehousing, commercial, school, and gymnasium markets. Orion provides capacity displacement solutions for supply side management, transmission management, and demand side management for the electricity industry. Besides the awards mentioned above, the company recently received the Wisconsin Business Friend of the Environment Award, and was chosen as a "Success Story" for the 2002 Governor's Summit on Capital. For more information, visit