updated 9/17/2010 7:45:53 AM ET 2010-09-17T11:45:53

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Sept. 16, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Chrysler Group, LLC was recognized today with the Orion Environmental Stewardship Award for the auto giant's dedication to protecting the health of their communities, natural resources and the global environment.

In addition to developing green products as part of their SmartWay Vehicle Certification program, and their work to develop alternative fuel vehicles, Chrysler is in the process of completing energy efficient lighting retrofit projects that will decrease their electricity consumption by 2.9 million kilowatt-hours a year at their GEMA Engine Plant in Dundee, Mich. and the Mt. Elliott Tool and Die Facility in Detroit, Mich. As a result, Chrysler will reduce 38,500 tons of greenhouse gasses throughout the life of the system including carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury, which are all byproducts of electricity generation.

The energy efficient lighting was designed and manufactured by Orion Energy Systems (NYSE Amex:OESX), a Manitowoc, Wisconsin-based power technology enterprise that designs, manufactures and deploys energy efficient and renewable technology for commercial and industrial companies, and supplied by McNaughton-McKay Electric Company based in Madison Heights, Michigan.

Chrysler was recognized by Orion's President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Potts and McNaughton-McKay's Sr. Executive VP of Sales & Marketing, Rick Dahlstrom during McNaughton-McKay's 100th Year Anniversary Open House celebration.

"This project is an excellent example of what Orion refers to as permanent distributed load reduction," said Orion President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Potts. "Chrysler's commitment to reducing the electric load where it is used has far reaching benefits both from an economic and an environmental standpoint. It's good for the economy because it saves Chrysler money on their energy bill and it reduces the need to generate, transmit and distribute the electricity, a process in which 65% of all prime energy is lost. It's good from an environmental standpoint because of the obvious greenhouse gas emission reductions."

"We are very proud to receive this award from Orion and McNaughton-McKay," said Paul Bedich, Chrysler's Energy Commodity Manager. "This was truly a collaborative effort between Chrysler, the GEMA and Mt. Elliott facilities, the supplier and the utility, DTE Energy. These facilities have realized cost savings, energy reductions and are helping us minimize the environmental impact of our operations." Orion's technology on average increased light levels by 50 percent and provided a natural color of light, which is proven to increase morale and productivity. The high-intensity fluorescent technology also turns on instantly as opposed to the traditional high-pressure sodium lighting it replaced, which can take upwards of 15 minutes to warm up and typically produces an orange hue.  

The reduced electricity is enough to power 278 homes a year and is expected to save Chrysler hundreds of thousands annually in light-related energy costs. In terms of environmental impact, the electricity reduction is the air scrubbing equivalent of a 536-acre forest or like saving nearly 5 million gallons of gasoline over the life expectancy of the fixtures, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

"McNaughton-McKay has been working closely with the Chrysler Corporate Energy Management Operations Group, Corporate Purchasing and individual plant Facility Managers over a three year initiative to identify cost and energy saving opportunities. These awards acknowledge the first major results of this initiative," stated Dahlstrom.

Celebrating their 100th year, employee-owned McNaughton-McKay Electric focuses on helping customers reach their sourcing and procurement goals through a variety of services and solutions. Extensive inventory, strong technical support capabilities, and operational excellence aid in assisting customers to support their day-to-day operations. McNaughton-McKay has 22 locations in 5 states, including Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina and South Carolina and a European location in Krefeld, Germany. 

For the past 15 years, Chrysler has been among the automotive industry's environmental pioneers, dedicating a prominent portion of their research and development to finding and building solutions. Through its SmartWay® Vehicle Certification program, Chrysler offers six vehicles that have received the SmartWay® certification and are recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for having tailpipe emissions significantly lower than environmental thresholds, including the Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Avenger and Caliber, and the Jeep Compass and Patriot.

Orion has deployed its energy management systems in 5,870 facilities across North America, including 123 of the Fortune 500 companies. Since 2001, Orion technology has displaced more than 551 megawatts, saving customers more than $935 million and reducing indirect carbon dioxide emissions by 8 million tons.

McNaughton-McKay Electric Company, a 100% employee owned company, is a leading distributor of electrical products for the Industrial, Automation, Commercial, and Construction markets. Headquartered in Madison Heights, Michigan, the company opened in Detroit in 1910 and currently has 22 locations in 5 states: Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina and South Carolina with a European location in Krefeld, Germany. McNaughton-McKay is currently celebrating their 100th Anniversary. As a corporation, McNaughton-McKay focuses on helping customers reach their sourcing and procurement goals through a variety of services and solutions. Extensive inventory, strong technical support capabilities, and operational excellence are dedicated to assisting customers improve their day-to-day operations. For more information, please visit www.mc-mc.com

Orion Energy Systems Inc. (NYSE Amex:OESX) is a leading power technology enterprise that designs, manufactures and deploys energy management systems, consisting primarily of high-performance, energy-efficient lighting platforms, intelligent wireless control systems and direct renewable solar technology for commercial and industrial customers without compromising their operations. For more information, visit www.oesx.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

The Orion Energy Systems, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=4540

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