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Swept Away by Alternative Energy

January 17, 2013 - 12:05pm

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MBC Ventures' new product line provides daylight to building interiors and generates thermal energy that can be used to heat the building. | Photo courtesy of MBC Ventures, Inc.

MBC Ventures' new product line provides daylight to building interiors and generates thermal energy that can be used to heat the building. | Photo courtesy of MBC Ventures, Inc.

After 160 years in the brush industry, MBC Ventures (formerly Maryland Brush Company) decided to diversify its business model and add new energy efficiency products to its manufacturing portfolio. With an economic development grant from the Maryland Energy Administration that was made available with Recovery Act funds from the Energy Department’s State Energy Program, the company purchased and installed equipment to begin manufacturing intelligent skylight systems in its Baltimore, Md., facility.

The new production line, called SKYLouver™ systems, uses sunlight to reduce commercial building energy consumption by up to 50 percent. The energy savings are achieved by providing daylight to building interiors and generating thermal energy that can be used for heating the building and for its water supply. 

This week, MBC celebrated the launch of its SKYLouver™ product line with state and local officials, several key solar energy stakeholders, and prospective customers. As part of the transition to producing clean energy technologies, MBC hired four new employees. Once MBC reaches full production, the line is expected to employ up to 25 people.

MBC installed a 50-unit SKYLouver™ system in one area of its brush manufacturing facility, which is expected to lower the facility's electric light demand by 60-70 percent, and heating and cooling demand by 30-40 percent. On the manufacturing floor, the need for electric lighting has been nearly eliminated during the day, and MBC employees are happy to work in the natural light.

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