GE Helps Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Race to Energy Conservation, $50,000 Annual Savings

CONCORD, N.C., Oct. 4, 2010 — (NYSE: GE)  Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, LLC, is helping to lead the way to increased energy conservation within the NASCAR community with upgraded highly efficient lighting systems from GE Lighting at its 185,000 square-foot race shop and corporate headquarters in Concord, N.C. The new lighting systems are expected to extend lighting maintenance cycles and cut lighting energy costs by $50,000 annually.

The update of the race shop and office complex, conducted by Illuminating Technologies, Inc., was completed in August 2010. A majority of the nearly 3,000 new lamps installed are products of ecomaginationsm:

  • Efficient T8 linear fluorescent lamps in the office areas; and
  • High-output Ultrastar® T5 linear fluorescent systems in the race shop that are powerful enough to be used in high-bay commercial settings such as warehouses, industrial plants or garages.

“Environmental efforts such as this lighting retrofit are powerful motivators for our team as we foster and build a conservation mindset,” says Steve Lauletta, president of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. “It's a small step, but it's a highly visible change that all our people can get behind, and something they see every day because they're often here working under vastly improved lighting.”

The new lighting is expected to decrease the facility's overall lighting energy costs by 35 percent each year with a payback period of only two years. The change also improved the quality of light, making the race shop a more comfortable place to work. For this retrofit, the shift from high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting to high-bay T5 linear fluorescent lighting in the race shop actually lowered light levels.

Blake Hunt, LC, president of administration and operations at Illuminating Technologies (, further explains the value of the Ultrastar T5 system, “At 50 percent of rated life, the old 400-watt metal halide lights would typically lose 35 percent of their light output, measured in lumens. By comparison, the new T5 system will lose only 8 percent of light output at that same stage. This new lighting does a better job of maintaining its light output and hitting target light levels. It also offers a longer rated life than the old HID system, which minimizes maintenance hassles and costs.”

The quality of light improved with a markedly higher color-rendering index (from 65 CRI to 85 CRI) and, in some areas, a lowering of light fixtures to better direct the light downward past the sound curtains used to cordon off the different areas of the race shop.

“We think it's fitting that the awe-inspiring technology on display throughout this race shop now extends to the lighting system,” says John Strainic, global product general manager, GE Lighting. “The choices Earnhardt Ganassi Racing has made with this lighting retrofit represent industry best practices. This is a model that could work for other NASCAR race teams and other commercial businesses.”

Lauletta adds: “It means a lot that we're able to utilize the expertise of our partners to forge deeper and more meaningful relationships. In this case, the results are changes that are both positive and mutually beneficial to both our organizations.”