February 5, 2020

Let There Be Light

When Gary Britcher goes to coffee shops, museums, and malls, he can’t help but notice the lights that illuminate those spaces. Inside a small café in Aspinwall, PA, he looks up at the lights mounted above his head, MR16’s, and knows that their 50-watt bulbs are turning 90% of their electricity into heat. He’s already thinking that if the lights were LEDs, 90% of their electricity would be transformed into light and only 10% into heat, resulting in saved energy and money.

When Gary Britcher goes to coffee shops, museums, and malls, he can’t help but notice the lights that illuminate those spaces. Inside a small café in Aspinwall, PA, he looks up at the lights mounted above his head, MR16’s, and knows that their 50-watt bulbs are turning 90% of their electricity into heat. He’s already thinking that if the lights were LEDs, 90% of their electricity would be transformed into light and only 10% into heat, resulting in saved energy and money.  

Steel City Energy Conservation, LLC, Gary’s company that he founded in 2013, works with small and large companies in industrial, commercial, and sports venues to design and supply LEDs for improved lighting and energy consumption. So far, Gary’s company has worked with churches, casinos, driving ranges, mini-golf courses, nonprofits, and town boroughs in Pittsburgh and across Pennsylvania. Gary also assists businesses with energy grants and power company energy rebates, which can save as much as 60% of the cost (such as the Small Business Advantage Grant in Pennsylvania).  

In the summer of 2020, Steel City Energy Conservation, LLC will be installing a specially designed podium inside the St. Nicholas Croatian church in Millvale, home to the magnificent Maxo Vanka murals. During a tour of the murals, Gary saw an opportunity for better lighting fixtures and proposed a design for a portable podium that incorporates a public address system for tours and presentations. Some of Steel City Energy Conservation’s projects do come from referrals and word of mouth, but many others (like this podium) spring from interactions in Gary’s daily life.    

In addition to supplying LED lighting, Steel City Energy Conservation, LLC installs the SigmaSmart IoT (internet of things) system—a combination of software and hardware that monitors and measures energy usage so business owners know exactly where their building is losing energy. For the Millvale Food + Energy hub, SigmaSmart can tell it how much power its solar panels are returning to the power grid and the equivalent of how many cars it takes off the road. With a new application and assistance from Steel City Energy Conservation, LLC, the DC-powered lights will also take advantage of the solar system and deploy a circadian rhythm lighting, beginning with a very white light that warms during the day. With customized lighting and advanced tools, any business can start tracking their energy usage and ensure it’s as efficient as possible.  

In 2016, Gary joined his eforever group in Wilkinsburg. He had already owned another business in previous decades and wasn’t a first-time entrepreneur, but the chance to connect with other business owners and share business advice appealed to Gary.  

“An eforever facilitator introduced me to New Sun Rising, which developed into the opportunity with the Millvale Food + Energy Hub. After that, I joined my eforever group to grow my business with the help of other entrepreneurs. Our meetings remind me of things that I ought to be doing, and I don’t always follow through, but they’re good refreshers. I’m also sharing advice with first-time small business owners who haven’t had as much exposure to the business world as I have.”

Gary Britcher, founder of Steel City Energy Conservation, LLC

Since its founding, Steel City Energy Conservation, LLC has participated in Pittsburgh’s shift towards energy efficiency and LED lighting. When Gary began his company, the business owners he spoke to usually replaced their lights with whatever incandescent bulbs they had in storage and didn’t see much value in switching to LEDs. But as the popularity for sustainable LED lighting grew, larger, industrial companies began making the switch too, and Steel City Energy Conservation, LLC has been an invaluable service for them. To start saving money on your commercial electric bills, visit https://scconserve.com/contact-us.

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