Briggs & Stratton Corporation Reduces Electricity Consumption by 9.4 Million Kilowatt-Hours Using Orion Technology

May 13, 2009 at 12:00 AM EDT

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo., May 13, 2009 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX News Network) -- As part of its 100-plus-year legacy to corporate and social environmental responsibility, Briggs & Stratton Corp. (NYSE:BGG) has completed a major lighting retrofit project that will decrease the engine and outdoor power equipment producer's electricity consumption by 9.4 million kilowatt-hours a year.

The kilowatt-hour reduction is enough electricity to power 937 homes annually, is the air-scrubbing equivalent of a 1,536-acre forest or equates to saving 766,937 gallons of gasoline a year.

The lighting project has earned Briggs & Stratton an Environmental Stewardship Award from Orion Energy Systems (Nasdaq:OESX), the Wisconsin company that designed and manufactured the new energy-efficient technology. The award was presented today by Orion's President and CEO Neal Verfuerth at Briggs & Stratton's Poplar Bluff, Mo., manufacturing facility.

Public officials who attended today's event included Poplar Bluff Mayor Loyd Matthews; Christy Ferrell, deputy district director for U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill; and Gary Gaines, southeast regional director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Also in attendance were utility representatives, Briggs & Stratton employees and business associates, and the media.

"Briggs & Stratton is a very viable part of our community, our state and our nation," said Mayor Matthews. "They reach out to the community, they are a good neighbor and a good citizen. This is a proud moment of the well-deserved distinction of being presented with the Orion Energy Systems Environmental Stewardship Award."

The Briggs & Stratton project entailed replacing inefficient high-intensity discharge lights at eight facilities with Orion's Compact Modular(tm) high-intensity fluorescent lighting system, which is engineered to reduce energy consumption, costs and the associated greenhouse gases.

Environmental stewardship drives what Briggs & Stratton does every day and lies at the very heart of the company's vision and values. The company embraces the opportunity to make a difference in the world and embraces the responsibility to be a leader in its efforts to sustain and improve the environment for generations to come.

In addition to the lighting retrofit project, Briggs & Stratton has reduced hazardous waste by 90 percent, has eliminated nearly 75 percent of smog-forming emissions in its engines since 1995, recycles 100 percent of its aluminum scrap and all of the cast iron and steel components used in its projects come from recycled materials. These are just a few examples of Briggs' longstanding commitment to sustainability.

"We are honored to receive this prestigious environmental stewardship award from Orion Energy Systems," said Todd Teske, President and COO of Briggs & Stratton Corporation. "We are pleased to partner with Orion to continue our commitment to reducing our energy consumption."

As a result of the 9.4 million kilowatt-hour reduction from the lighting retrofit, Briggs & Stratton will help displace 7,448 metric tons of carbon dioxide. The greenhouse gas reductions are the equivalent of removing 1,237 cars from the road.

The environmental benefits and energy cost savings of the Briggs & Stratton project are possible because Orion's technology is based on the dual principles of optimizing input energy and maximizing lighting output. Orion's patented high-intensity fluorescent lighting platform uses about 50 percent less energy and provides 50 percent more light than traditional high-intensity discharge fixtures, which have been the industry norm since the early 1960s. Orion systems turn on instantly, provide a more natural type of light, and operate at a relatively cool 110 degrees.

"Briggs and Stratton's commitment to the environment and sustainability is setting the standard for how commercial and industrial businesses use energy," Verfuerth said. "In addition to the significant benefits to our environment, Briggs & Stratton is permanently reducing base load in the facility during peak hours, which lessens the upward pressure that exists on power prices and the need to add capacity or build new power plants."

"For over 100 years, environmental stewardship has been at the forefront of what we do every day. As we enter our second century, Briggs & Stratton plans to continue our tradition of corporate leadership to help maintain the health of our planet and its people," stated Teske. "We take that responsibility very seriously."

Orion's energy-efficient technology platform includes its Compact Modular(tm) high-intensity fluorescent lighting system, the InteLite(r) wireless control system and the direct renewable Apollo(r) solar light pipe, all of which are installed as an integrated system in Briggs & Stratton's Poplar Bluff, facility.

The integrated system was internationally recognized in December 2008 with the prestigious Platts Global Energy Award for the single most innovative and sustainable technology of 2008. The system can reduce energy consumption for lighting in a commercial or industrial facility for up to 10 hours a day during daylight hours when the electric grid is operating at or near peak capacity.

Orion's innovation and technology recently won the praise of President Barack Obama, who applauded Orion in a White House speech promoting clean energy, the creation of green collar jobs and the importance of energy efficiency.

Orion Energy Systems Inc. (Nasdaq:OESX) is a leading power technology enterprise that designs, manufactures and implements energy management systems, consisting primarily of high-performance, energy-efficient lighting systems, controls and related services for commercial and industrial customers without compromising their quantity or quality of light. Orion has deployed its energy management systems in 4,387 facilities across North America. Since 2001, Orion technology has displaced more than 423 megawatts, saving customers more than $514 million and reducing indirect carbon dioxide emissions by 4.3 million tons. Orion's technology was recently internationally recognized with a Platts Global Energy Award for the single most innovative and sustainable green technology of 2008. For more information, visit www.oesx.com.

The Orion Energy Systems, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=4540

Briggs & Stratton Corp. (NYSE:BGG) is the world's largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group LLC, is North America's No. 1 manufacturer of portable generators and pressure washers, and is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of lawn and garden and turf care through its wholly owned subsidiary Simplicity Manufacturing Inc. and its Simplicity(r), Snapper(r), Ferris(r) and Murray(r) brands. Briggs & Stratton products are designed, manufactured, marketed and serviced in more than 100 countries on six continents. For more information, visit www.briggsandstratton.com.

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SOURCE: Orion Energy Systems, Inc.; Briggs & Stratton Corporation

Orion Energy Systems, Inc.
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