Vision-Ease Lens (VEL), a manufacturer of eyeglass lenses sold through optical outlets, said it is reducing its carbon footprint and setting new sustainability standards for manufacturers in Minnesota. Since March 1, VEL has been buying energy generated by the wind to power its Ramsey, Minn.-facility, making it one of Minnesota's largest industrial companies to do so. "Converting to 100 percent renewable energy is an additional cost today, but the benefits far outweigh the cost in the long run," said Doug Hepper, president and CEO, VEL. "By switching to renewable power, we will avoid the release of more than 15,000 metric tons of carbon emissions each year. This saving is equivalent to the emissions that result from burning more than one-and-three-quarter million gallons of gasoline." In other eco-friendly initiatives, the company has replaced all lighting in the Ramsey facility with energy efficient fluorescents and moved the production of its photochromic lenses to one facility to eliminate extra product shipments for manufacturing.