Roger Worrick Demonstrates His Expertise in the Lighting Industry
July 11, 2018
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Erik Wolf: Hello and welcome to The Denver Executive Association Trusted Advisor podcast. Twice a month 30 or so of a secret cabal of Denver’s topic execs gather and this time we did it at Highlands Ranch Golf Course which might be cliche for a business meeting but the weather’s very pleasant today so we don’t care. We share our knowledge, we share connections, we do business together. And twice a month someone has the unfortunate task of sitting here with me. My name is Erik Wolf and I’m with the digital marketing agency estound. We serve small and midsize business owners as nearby as Denver and as far aloft as New Zealand with CMO-level digital strategy, website design and development, search engine optimization, pay-per-click and all that awesome pixel stuff. Today we’re chatting with Roger Worrick of Worrick Consulting. He likes to say that he lights up your life and that’s not just because of his effervescent personality but because he’s actually a lighting consultant. He works with energy efficient interior and exterior lighting, primarily for commercial applications, warehouses, offices, retail, all that good stuff. Welcome to the show, Roger.
Roger Worrick: Thank you very much, Erik.
Erik Wolf: So why lighting?
Roger Worrick: I’ve been interested in energy efficiency since the 1979 oil crunch. I remember paying $1.55 per gallon in Hampton, Virginia.
Erik Wolf: Wouldn’t you kill to pay $1.55 a gallon right now?
Roger Worrick: It would be great!
Erik Wolf: But then it was alarming.
Roger Worrick: Yes it was. And it just irritated me so that got me started into energy efficiency. And so it was kind of like a hobby, a passion and then I used to work in the nuclear power industry both for commercial power plants during outages, refueling. And then I started doing decommissioning and ended up being a radiological engineer to clean up Rocky Flats and a few other facilities. But the energy efficiency just was always a passion with me and I met a guy about 15 years ago, looking at something for automobiles that wasn’t good, but he was in the lighting business and that’s how I got started.
Erik Wolf: And what led you to, and the nuclear stuff is fascinating, I sort of want to ask you what plutonium tastes like but let’s stick to lighting. What led you to your current business. How did you get from 15 years ago and sort of being introduced to it to being, I’ll say it, you’re sort of a top guy.
Roger Worrick: Well thank you. Ten years ago I left the nuclear decommissioning business. It wasn’t fun anymore. I’ll just say too many bean counters trying to keep track of every 15 minutes of time. I got a lead into a commercial facility. I called up my friend Jerry, who I’d met a couple of years earlier, and he was in the lighting business and I said, “Can you help me out with this?” And he did. And that was my start. And for the first year, he was kind of mentoring me. And after that, because of how things are advancing so fast with efficiency and quality, we were helping each other out. Then about five years ago he passed away and I’ve been on my own and it’s been good.
Erik Wolf: So you know more about, and not just the part where you pick the right bulb and get the right fixture and all that stuff. But you actually know more about lighting or light in general than probably anybody that I know. So keep in mind this is a short show, give me one or two things about light and lighting that folks probably don’t know. That your common John or Jane off the street would be just amazed at.
Roger Worrick: Most people have heard that LED lighting is energy efficient. And it is, but there’s also a big difference in the quality of the light and the quality of the product. Just like you can buy a really cheap stereo or really cheap earbuds or you can buy really high-quality earphones or earbuds. And it’s the same thing with the manufacturers. And so it’s not just price, it’s not just a commodity item, like lightbulbs used to be because they were all pretty much the same before. They all had the 750 or 1,000-hour life. Now with LEDs for a standard screw in bulb, you might have a 5000-hour life you might have a 40,000-hour life. And it really makes a difference. Then there’s a difference in what’s called the Color Rendering Index. How true does it replicate the colors, the clothes you’re wearing or the space you’re trying to eliminate. So if you have a color rendering of about 70 on a scale of 1 to 100 versus a 90, that makes a difference. I recently had a dentist who said I need 90 plus CRI and there were only two manufacturers that I could find that would fit in his space. And one was about twice the price of the other one and I said you can take your pick. I said they’re both good manufacturers. This one’s a little bit slightly higher, its CRI was running like 94, 95 and the other was running 92, 93. And he chose a less expensive one that met his needs.
Erik Wolf: And those couple of points can be the difference between a twice the price of a light bulb.
Roger Worrick: Yes!
Erik Wolf: That is pretty amazing.
Roger Worrick: It is. There was another instance where we had some lights in a high-end lobby and it takes a specialized lift just to change out the bulbs. So I can come in with a bulb that let’s just say was $15 dollars each or I can come in with one that was roughly $28 dollars each. The one with $28 dollars each had a 40000-hour life versus a 20000-hour life. Oh, the maintenance savings is tremendous. So a lot of people they look at the energy. They don’t realize that the maintenance savings is often more so than the energy savings.
Erik Wolf: So how many guys does it take to change a light bulb? I think you’re in a unique position to answer that. I guess sometimes it takes a few if you need the lift to get to the top of the ceiling.
Roger Worrick: Yes I can tell you at Rocky Flats, which was a nuclear weapons facility and the most highly contaminated, highly radioactive area on the site. Somebody did a study from the person who first saw the light was out all the way through procurement and planning and everything, the final number was 47 people had a hand in that.
Erik Wolf: It took 47 people to change a light bulb. That is, well it’s frightening but it’s it’s amazing too. You deal with folks who have very particular needs. So the dentist who needs the color index to be at certain specifications. That’s a great example. What’s an example, give me a lighting hero story where you really came to the rescue and did something that may be either helped somebody out of a tough spot or maybe even just they didn’t know that it was possible for them to get something as good as what they got.
Roger Worrick: I’ll give you one example. This was probably five or six years ago now. We had a senior living facility, active adults and there’s just one bill for the building, it was a pretty old building, 45, 50 years old. They were running about 95% of the capacity on their electrical service for the whole building and they were looking at tens of thousands of dollars to have to change this out. And we get referred to them just on the lighting side and basically, they were running at times 95% of their rated capacity, which was not safe at all. So we came in and for every light fixture, we saved between 40 and 60% per fixture. We did the whole building including inside the apartments and we dropped their overall electric usage from a max of 95 percent of capacity down the panel down to 80 percent capacity down the panel. And so they didn’t have to buy a new panel for a while.
Erik Wolf: That’s incredible. And that’s a big savings. Because this is, in fact, the trusted advisor podcast, Roger be my trusted adviser for just a second here and if you don’t mind can you give me a quick tip for somebody who thinks, whether they’re a store owner or corporate office, lobby. What’s the first thing that somebody should do or think about if they’re thinking about maybe it’s time to redo the lighting in here?
Roger Worrick: The first thing to do would be bring in somebody who understands lighting somebody like myself. There are many good companies out there.
Erik Wolf: There’s nobody like you Roger.
Roger Worrick: Thank you very much. But there’s a lot of good people out there and they need to be able to address your needs. And I can give you an example, I went into one small industrial facility and he told me in this one area, roughly 20 feet by 30 feet, I need more light here. And the rest of the place was, we could go with energy savings. So I got him, I didn’t use any more energy. I didn’t save him any energy but I got him like 50% more light. And I said you’re not getting a rebate on this part because you didn’t save energy, but I gave you the light that you need. Then the rest of the building we saved them on energy and got him the rebate that was available through the local utility.
Erik Wolf: How do, just take a slight tangent and hopefully this doesn’t open too much of a Pandora’s box. But the whole rebate thing. How do people know what they’re eligible for and if you don’t mind give us a quick background on the current status of energy rebates?
Roger Worrick: Alright, energy rebates are available here in Colorado and throughout the country. The reason that there are rebates for energy efficiency is because the cost of building a new power plant is usually about 2-2.5 times the cost of saving energy. And so there are rebate programs for lighting, for air conditioning, for insulation, for air compressors, stopping the leaks throughout a facility and so on. And so that’s the purpose of the rebates. So I deal mostly with Xcel energy rebates here in Colorado but I’ve also dealt with Colorado Springs utilities, Platte River Power Authority and Pacific Gas and Electric and the one down in Florida, Florida Power and Light. So I’m able to look online and see are the rebates available for this particular customer and what the amounts are. And that’s important because I’ve got two customers who had somebody else do their lights. They did a good job on the lights but they didn’t put in a product that was qualifying for the rebates. So one customer instead of getting a rough $2000 dollar rebate ended up only being about $500. The other one instead of getting a $650 dollar rebate got nothing because he didn’t put the right model number in. One model qualified and the next model didn’t.
Erik Wolf: So you’ve got to be really careful is sort of the end.
Roger Worrick: Yeah, you know ahead of time what you need to put in and be similar to you’re making a repair on your car. OK, you order the part online, then you go to put it in and you realize, “Oh, this doesn’t fit. My model is slightly different than what was there.” So it’s knowing what’s going to qualify for the rebate and still provide the energy savings and most importantly meet the customers lighting needs. That’s first and foremost because if we don’t meet their needs. It’s easy to save energy just turn the lights off.
Erik Wolf: And on that note just turn the lights off. Thank you so much, Roger. How can the many multitudes of people that listen to this broadcast get in touch with you?
Roger Worrick: I would say the best way would be e-mail: Rworrick@energyconsultingpro.com.
Erik Wolf: And that’s R W O R R I C K. Correct?
Roger Worrick: Yes.
Erik Wolf: Excellent. Thank you so much for joining us Roger and thanks to all who listened to the DEA Trusted Advisor podcast. We’ll catch you on the next one.