The Tecla Company reduced its energy costs and got money back from DTE Energy when it upgraded to LED lighting.

We’re all well schooled in the achievements as Edison and Henry Ford, whose innovations changed the world. But few have heard of their contemporary, Thomas E. Clark, a Michigander whose inventions helped usher in the age of electronic communication. Clark founded the Tecla Company in 1897 and introduced ship-to-shore wireless communication to the Great Lakes region. At one point, he operated a network of almost 20 shore stations. A leading manufacturer of mechanical and electrical equipment, Tecla helped build the transmitter for WWJ Radio One, one of the first commercial radio stations in the United States.

Four generations later, Clark’s descendants still run the company, now located in Walled Lake and housing five brands: Tecla Marine Products, Tecla Innovation, Resco Pet Products, Bert’s Custom Tackle and Walker Downriggers. A company doesn’t stay in business for over 120 years by accident. It requires vision, determination, adaptability and recognition that cost reduction is key to profitability. And it was with reducing energy costs in mind that Tecla decided to replace its inefficient lighting with LEDs.

New Lighting Delivers Results

“A lighting contractor contacted us and proposed changing our fluorescent and metal halide lighting to LED,” said Robb Clark, vice president and grandson of the company’s founder. “We accepted his proposal and have reduced our energy bill by over 34 percent. We went from just over $28,000 in annual electricity costs to about $18,500 after installing the lighting.”

Clark shared proof of these results with us. A well- organized and fastidious business professional, he came to our interview with both the proposal from the lighting contractor and energy bills documenting the savings achieved with the new LED lighting.

The new LEDs have also helped Tecla improve productivity. “The lighting is brighter, so our employees can see better,” said Richard Shepard, a 23-year employee and marine operations manager. “The new lighting comes on instantly. Before, if someone accidently turned off some metal halide lights, it would take 10 to 15 minutes for them to come back on.”

“The new lights don’t flicker and don’t make noise,” added Dave Ortwine, who has worked at Tecla for 11 years. Gail Horner-Pearson, the plant manager, said the LED lighting doesn’t create shadows, making it easier for employees to distinguish between shades of white used in their manufacturing process.“In addition to improving productivity, the LED lighting has improved employee morale,” Clark said.

And Cash Back from DTE

Tecla paid $23,349 for the new lights. This sum included installation, labor and disposal of the old lighting. The company received an $8,000 rebate from DTE Energy, resulting in a net cost of just over $15,000. It was originally estimated that Tecla would save just over $8,000 annually from the LED conversion and receive a full return on its investment in about two years. According to Clark, the results have been even better.

“We achieved $9,664 in yearly electricity savings, significantly more than what was estimated. The contractor also helped with the paperwork,” Clark said. “The whole process was easy. I was surprised at how little I needed to be involved. It only took two meetings with the lighting contractor to put a plan in place.”

Get Started on Your Energy Efficiency Improvements

Join the Tecla Company and hundreds of other Michigan businesses by taking advantage of the benefits offered by energy efficiency upgrades. Save money on your utility and maintenance bills while enhancing the comfort, productivity and employee morale of your business. As an extra bonus, receive cash back incentives from DTE. Lighting upgrades are a great place to start but represent only one of the hundreds of energy efficiency measures that can qualify. For a full listing, download the DTE Specifications Catalog at Start today and you’ll be enjoying benefits that can last a lifetime.


For more information regarding cash back incentives, contact DTE’s Energy Efficiency Program for Business

866.796.0512 (option 3)