Longtime partnership delivers reel success

4 min read

Carris Reels’ enduring commitment to energy efficiency has earned it the 2022 Efficiency Vermont Energy Leadership Award in the industrial customer category.

In 2021, the company completed six energy efficiency projects across its seven Vermont locations. These included a compressor upgrade, compressed air leak audit, and the addition of variable frequency drives. The upgrades save $65,000 in electricity usage annually.

“The team at Carris Reels is phenomenal, they really care about the savings and make the investments needed to succeed. Their dedication and leadership have not only made an impact within their company, but also across the Rutland community.”

Dave Adams, Efficiency Vermont Account Manager
The power of partnership

Henry Carris established his cable and wire reel company in Rutland in 1951; today Carris Reels is a thriving, $140 million business encompassing 20 locations in 3 countries. One of the hallmarks of the company’s staying power is its dedication to its staff and the community. Leadership and staff have a history of building relationships in just about every sense of the word.

“Carris is a family,” said Jason Rockwell, Maintenance Supervisor for Carris Reels’ Vermont Operations. “We’ve got people that have been here for 30 or 40 years.”

The company is employee-owned and recently passed the $5 million mark in charitable giving each year. Seven of its locations are in Rutland County, Vermont, where the company plays a significant role in supporting regional economic stability and the availability of high-skilled jobs.

The company’s first project with Efficiency Vermont was in 2007. Since then, they have continued to build momentum with the help of in-house energy efficiency champions and a steadfast commitment to continuous energy improvement.

“Anywhere we can save money for new, more efficient upgrades for equipment, we throw it to Efficiency Vermont to see if they can help us with it,” said Rockwell. “It’s a great relationship.”

What is continuous energy improvement?

In partnership with Efficiency Vermont, Carris Reels has saved more than $300,000 on energy costs over the past 10 years—savings that go back into the company and employees’ pockets.

“We try to be better every day,” said Rockwell. “We want to reduce our costs and do the right thing for the environment. It’s our company culture.”

At the heart of the company’s impressive energy savings is a rigorous practice of continuous energy improvement (CEI). CEI is a long-term, systematic approach to energy management. The company works with Efficient Vermont to deploy a variety of tools to streamline processes, improve equipment efficiency, and optimize controls.

All this can add up to sizeable savings over time. Companies that adopt continuous energy improvement—sometimes called strategic energy management—can cut consumption by up to 15% in just the first three years.

Efficiency is a journey, not a destination

As with other operational functions, the work of continuous energy improvement is never done. Rockwell is already looking ahead to future efficiency projects.

“We’re about 99% done with lighting, but we have opportunities to get more motors on our variable frequency drives,” he said. “There’s also an opportunity to update our dock seals at overhead doors to reduce heat loss. And to upgrade our air compressors. And upgrade our dust collection controls in some of the other buildings.”

It’s clear that for this maintenance supervisor of a thriving manufacturing company, there’s always more work to do. Efficiency Vermont looks forward to continuing to partner with Rockwell and the Carris Reels team—and with all of Vermont’s other commercial and industrial businesses—now and in the future.