Florida Tile has been awarded $162,500 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) economic stimulus funds to replace outmoded lighting with advanced, energy-efficient fixtures (shown here) at its Lawrenceburg, KY, manufacturing facility.

LAWRENCEBURG, KY -- Florida Tile has been awarded $162,500 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) economic stimulus funding to replace old, inefficient lighting with advanced, energy-efficient fixtures at its manufacturing facility in Lawrenceburg, KY. Florida Tile was one of four Kentucky companies to share grants totaling $787,000. The announcement was made on May 13, 2010 by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.

Monies from the U.S. Department of Energy, secured by the Kentucky Department for Energy Independence and the Cabinet for Economic Development, were earmarked for upgrading existing commercial facilities. Two years ago, Florida Tile moved its manufacturing operation to Lawrenceburg, purchasing and investing $15 million to "recycle" an under-utilized manufacturing plant -- now employing over 150 workers. The modern porcelain and wall tile manufacturing facility was designed to be eco-friendly from the start; for example, it features a massive, three-stage ball mill (one of only three worldwide) to conserve energy, reports the manufacturer.

Florida Tile will use the funds to replace lighting that is nearly 40 years old and currently pulling between 400 and 1,000 watts for each fixture. New energy-efficient fixtures purchased with the grand funding will use only 200 watts, yet simultaneously produce more lumens. Because of that, the new lighting will result in the need for 30 percent fewer fixtures. Overall, the Florida Tile retrofit is expected to save 74 percent on lighting costs.

"Florida Tile is thrilled to have been selected to receive these funds," said Richard Kincaid, Director of Logistics for Florida Tile. "The grant funds allow us to move forward on a project that is a key component of our 'Florida Tile CARES' Program. CARES stands for 'Creating A Responsible Environmental Strategy.' Not only will we be able to significantly reduce our energy usage, we will also have a brighter workplace." According to a press statement by the governor's office, the purpose of the grant funding is twofold: First, to accelerate energy efficiency and renewable energy industrial projects for businesses locating or expanding operations in Kentucky that create or retain jobs while saving energy and reducing carbon emissions. And secondly, to help achieve the goals set by the governor's "Intelligent Energy Choices for Kentucky's Future: Kentucky's 7-Point Energy Strategy."

Companies were selected through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process, administered by the state's Cabinet for Economic Development. The cabinet will provide 50 percent of the funds needed to complete the lighting upgrades, and each company will provide the additional funding required to complete its project.