Mount Vernon Company Grows With NYSERDA Grant

In Westchester’s very own Mt. Vernon, the story of Bridge Metal Industries, LLC exemplifies the growth of a clean energy economy, a priority that New York has identified as a potential solution to both economic and environmental concerns.

In 2007, The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) released a funding opportunity which aimed to support the growth of clean energy manufacturing in the state, including expansion of existing facilities to produce energy efficient end-use products.  Bridge Metal, a financially secure but relatively traditional manufacturing company, took advantage of the opportunity to invest in a significant expansion and shift in operations, and now specializes in retail product display and illumination for retail stores using exceptionally efficient and durable light emitting diode (LED) technology.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) released a funding opportunity which aimed to support the growth of clean energy manufacturing in the state, including expansion of existing facilities to produce energy efficient end-use products. Bridge Metal, a financially secure but relatively traditional manufacturing company, took advantage of the opportunity to invest in a significant expansion and shift in operations, and now specializes in retail product display and illumination for retail stores using exceptionally efficient and durable light emitting diode (LED) technology.

With the help of a $1.5 million grant from NYSERDA, the company now custom-designs and manufactures LED-based energy efficient lighting for illuminating retail store products, fast food menu boards and sign boxes. The new lighting is projected to save customers from 50% to 70% on their lighting costs, according to President/CEO Joseph Messa. “For every hour the fixtures we have produced are lit, our clients have saved over 10,000 kWh. That helps reduce carbon emissions by 7.6 tons per hour, which is tremendous since the majority of the fixtures we have produced are on 18 to 24 hours per day,” said Messa. The company also works to make its products controllable, utilizing motion and daylight-sensors to reduce energy waste for customers with long hours of operation.

Alan Cowen, Joseph Messa, and Brad Sagona under a deep well skylight. ventures, including enhanced daylight harvesting and reactive power/power factor correction.

The impact of the company’s transition, and NYSERDA’s assistance, goes beyond Bridge Metal and its customers. As Cowen explained, part of the NYSERDA funding hinged on a performance-based calculation that took into account the value of the project to the NYS economy.

In particular, Bridge Metal has signed an agreement with Echosun Energy, a neighboring startup that designs and produces deep well skylights.

Bridge Metal will work in partnership with Echosun to commercialize an LED integrated skylight that senses the amount of light in the room provided by the sun and only turns on the electric lights when required.See http://www.echosunenergy.com/.

Bridge Metal was not only based on their sales, but on the amount of  materials purchased from NYS vendors. This created a “multiplier effect,” where at least one NYS-based company expanded its own product line to accommodate Bridge’s needs for materials from a local supplier. Bridge Metal satisfied that threshold, and the project is currently six months ahead of projections.

In addition, the company has hired 80-100 new employees, including engineers, designers, graphic artists, managers, machine operators and general factory workers. This type of holistic growth is demonstrative of what a clean energy business development project is meant to accomplish. For more information about current NYSERDA opportunities, visit www.nyserda.org.

What started as an expansion has resulted in a redefinition at Bridge Metal. As Messa stated, “We’ve decided that we are not just a lighting company; we’re an energy company.  What we’re really selling now is payback. If we can provide our clients with the right product with a payback of two years or less, it’s a win for everybody.”  See http://www.bridgemetal.com/.