When lights in the Ruralite Services building started burning out and needed to be replaced, Efficiency Services Group field specialist James Harvey knew it was time for a lighting upgrade. After all, when you have one of the Northwest’s largest efficiency-service providers under the same roof, it’s important to practice what you preach!
As the current front-runner in lighting efficiency, LEDs were chosen for the upgrade. In addition to saving energy and money, the lights last longer and need less maintenance.
“Fluorescent lights use mercury vapor to create a reaction,” Harvey says. “When a fluorescent light burns out, you need to find a place to recycle it. You can’t just throw it away.”
“The first step was counting the number of lights we needed to change over to LEDs.”
Familiar with on-site audits and direct-install measures, Harvey inventoried lights inside and outside the building that could be replaced with the higher-efficiency bulbs. As part of the process, Harvey calculated the amount of energy being used, as well as the total annual cost.
Efficiency Services Group often partners with public power utilities to administer their rebate programs, so Harvey knew what to do next. He reached out to the Energy Trust of Oregon to take advantage of its incentives program for energy-efficiency upgrades.
After replacing 140 lights, Ruralite Services will halve its energy use and save more than 50% annually on energy costs. The savings will pay for the costs of the project in fewer than 5 years.
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“Any screw-in light bulb can be replaced with an LED,” according to Harvey. “T8 fluorescent lights can be replaced with ‘Plug and Play’ lights or Type A LED Tubes.” View the T8 Fluorescent Lights (PDF).
Save even more energy by installing motion-sensor switches or fixtures with light-sensitive photocells.
“Exterior lights can have photocells wired into the circuit to turn lights on when light levels fall to a certain point,” Harvey says. “Some screw-in lightbulbs have built-in photocells.”
Whether it’s replacing lights at the office or swapping a bulb at home, lighting upgrades are an easy way to save energy, cut costs, and set an efficiency example.