AMF Bowling Centers, the world's largest owner and operator of bowling lanes, is installing building automation systems that are expected to save several million dollars in annual utility costs.
AMF contracted with Lime Energy (Nasdaq: LIME) to install web-based energy automation systems at more than 100 bowling centers across the US.
When combined with lighting retrofits completed by Lime in 2009, AMF will save over $5.6 million in energy costs each year.
Lime will provide energy use monitoring and maintain 24-hour telephone support for diagnostics and troubleshooting for the installations.
"When we initially partnered with Lime Energy in 2009, it was to complete an energy efficient lighting retrofit at all of our bowling centers (286 in the US and Puerto Rico)," says Simon Shearer, Senior Vice President of Facilities & Design at AMF.
"The results were fabulous. We set what we believed were aggressive payback targets, and Lime helped us over-achieve against them. During 2011, we decided to accept Lime's recommendation to install building automation in many of our bowling centers. Early results have indicated greater than 60% ROI," he adds.
The web-based automation system includes an electric meter at each location that provides real-time energy consumption data for troubleshooting and trend analysis.
AMF personnel can call Lime Energy to report anything related to energy use or comfort at their center. Technicians from Lime can look at energy usage and temperatures in real time during these calls and discuss the situation with the center, leading to a rapid resolution.
The system also monitors refrigerators and walk-in coolers and sends alarms to avoid costly food spoilage if temperatures in the refrigerators veer outside of pre-set limits.
The ability to monitor energy use in real time will also provide AMF with the secondary benefit of participating in emerging smart grid initiatives. Many local utilities offer Demand Response programs in which customers voluntarily reduce electricity consumption during high usage peak periods in return for utility bill discounts.
Lime Energy is one of the energy efficiency stocks we cover in our green investing newsletter, Progressive Investor.