REVCO Looking To The Future
By Shaye Weaver
On the roof of the REVCO Lighting and Electrical Supply building on County Road 39, hidden from the constant bustle of traffic, lie 220 solar panels. And just feet below, the company has installed an electric car charging station steps from its front doors.
Going all out to promote and become a part of the "green revolution," Revco has launched a Clean Energy Division at its Southampton location and will throw a party on Friday to cel- ebrate.
"We're really happy to be on the forefront of the clean energy trend," said Allison Bourquin, the company's marketing and public relations coordinator. "Our management has been 100-percent behind this. It's the wave of the future."
In addition to their assortment of electrical supplies and lighting, solar photovoltaic and wind energy systems, as well as LED lighting, are now a part of Revco's inventory. "There's been an increase in demand on all fronts," Ms. Bourquin said.
Especially in the smaller items like lighting controls, dimming switches and sensors, according to Clean Energy Specialist Adam Williams. "Occupancy sensors are the new cutting edge on energy efficiency," he said.
"And installing LED lighting is such a simple adjustment that has an immediate impact on utility expense," Ms. Bourquin added.
But for those who want to take bigger steps toward energy efficiency, Revco has joined the ranks of solar and wind energy distributors on the East End. The company now carries Solar World USA, Urban Green Energy and Honeywell products, and has been working with each manufacturer to educate its staff about the technical aspects of the new equipment, as well as the environmental benefits that go along with using energy efficient systems.
To get firsthand knowledge, Revco installed a Solar World USA solar system on top of its building, which generates 50,000 watts, and a Leviton Level II charging station for electric vehicles, one of the first public charging stations on the East End, according to Ms. Bourquin.
"The solar panel system is enough to reduce our utility costs by 45 percent-that's pretty big," Mr. Williams said. The new system is grid-tied, meaning that it relies on LIPA to store the solar energy and keep track of the kilowatts used.
Now, when customers visit the store, Revco staff, namely Mr. Williams, will walk them through the process of setting up a solar photovoltaic or wind energy system, using the new solar system on the roof as an example. "It will be easier to show and teach people about it knowing firsthand how to install it, and live with it, and how it affects things and what environmental factors to take into account," he said. "We're trying to reduce our carbon footprint and to do the right thing."
For those who aren't exactly buying into the solar system idea or don't know where to start, Revco will take customers by the hand and explain how things work. "Adam will sit down and crunch numbers on what utility bills would be and give a proposal for what we could do to help tailor the system to specific needs," Ms. Bourquin said.
The goal is to make it easier for East End residents to go green and do it through a familiar channel. "We feel that eventually all the solar, wind, and clean energy and renewable energy will eventually go through distributors," Mr. Williams said, noting that right now, the clean energy industry is much like "the wild, wild West."
Despite the relative newness of the industry, the company's president, Theodora Velys, said that crossing the clean energy frontier was the next logical step. "It was a natural sequence from our normal inventory into the next generation of lighting," she said.
And continuing the transition, the Velys family, who have owned and operated the business since 1978, are looking forward to having the public use their Leviton charging station. Electric car owners who set up a temporary, free "easy pass" with Revco, can swipe a card, unlock the station and charge up. Mr. Williams said the charger takes only about four hours to fully charge a vehicle, as opposed to most stations that take eight hours.
At the party on Friday, which is slated to run from 5 to 7 p.m., Buzz Chew Chevrolet- Cadillac in Southampton will set up an electric Chevrolet Volt for the inaugural charge at the Leviton station. Revco staff members are hoping to "drum up support" for the move toward a cleaner way of life and their new commitment to renewable energy, Ms. Bourquin said.
"We want to save the world for you and you," Ms. Velys said jokingly as she pointed to those around her on Monday. "We're thrilled and hope to set an example for others."