Spotlight: Design Electric Goes the Distance on Energy Savings!


Throughout its 30 years in business, Design Electric – headquartered in Charlottesville – has worked with a range of commercial, institutional, and industrial clients on a variety of electrical construction and maintenance projects. In an era of “doing more with less,” Design Electric has made environmentally friendly, energy- and money saving technology an integral part of its approach to business. 

A recent project for Tandem Friends in Charlottesville (also a Better Business Challenge participant) illustrates this ethos. Design Electric helped Tandem Friends achieve 67% in energy savings in its gymnasium by removing the structure’s HID high-bay lighting and replacing it with a modern, high quality LED linear. The lighting redesign effectively reduced the gym’s wattage from 400W to 150W. 

Now, Design Electric is looking inward, as the office embarks on the Better Business Challenge and begins to make changes to its approach to sustainability. They know how important it is to work as a team to not only set but implement company-wide energy efficiency and C02 emission reduction goals. 

“Design is already a big part of the Charlottesville community,” says Jessica Calderon, who is on Design Electric’s Better Business Challenge team. “Our company values are proactivity, responsiveness, integrity, and diligence. We looked at [the Better Business Challenge] as an opportunity to put those values into action not only in the business, but in our community.” 

As such, Design Electric has established sustainability goals and created an action plan that supports the company’s efforts to save energy and reduce its carbon footprint.  

So far they’ve taken advantage of an energy assessment from LEAP-VA and they are “committed to eliminating plastics, composting our coffee with Black Bear Composting, and using only paper products that are from recycled material” explains Calderon.

Some other changes Design Electric has in process are:

  • Adding insulation to its warehouse

  • Upgrading to LED lighting at its warehouse

  • Installing small water heaters under the sink

  • Buying efficient faucet aerators and onsite recycling bins

  • Creating a small area with local native plants

Calderon says the company is also looking into possibly adding a solar system with the help of Sigora Solar.

While many of Design Electric’s sustainable measures are a work-in-progress, “we are lucky enough to have the support from upper management to tackle this project as a team,” says Calderon.