Published on November 15th, 2012 | by Dan Thiede, CERTs0
Local Government Lighting Retrofits: Inspiring Over 25,000 Efficient Bulb Upgrades In MN
- Did you know that $1 invested in efficient lighting can pay back $6 in energy savings? CFLs & LEDs use less electricity, last longer.
Be it in your home, your business, your school, or your government office, lighting uses a lot of energy. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) website, “EIA estimates that in 2010, about 499 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity were used for lighting by the residential and commercial sectors. This was equal to about 18% of the total electricity consumed by both of those sectors and about 13% of total U.S. electricity consumption.” So it’s not surprising that many of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) projects included some sort of lighting retrofit component to increase the efficiency of the bulbs being used.
Indeed, out of projects at 260 buildings throughout Minnesota, over half (136 buildings!) received lighting and controls upgrades. Older, incandescent lighting fixtures are less efficient because they often trap a significant amount of light produced within the fixture itself. Switching to more efficient lighting helps to save energy and money and helps to spread light more evenly. Additionally, installing new lighting fixtures will often help save on maintenance costs since newer lights such as LEDs and CFLs have longer lives than standard incandescent bulbs.
Statewide, over 25,000 standard lighting fixtures were replaced with more efficient fixtures. Many of the projects that funded lighting retrofits focused on replacing T12 light fixtures with T8’s. The numbers 8 and 12 in the names of the lights refer to the diameter size of a CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) tube. The smaller the number is, the smaller the width of the fluorescent tube and, more importantly, the greater the efficiency of the light. There were also several EECBG projects that replaced standard lighting with efficient LED fixtures.
In addition to switching out fixtures and bulbs, 37 buildings had occupancy sensors installed, totaling over 3,400 new occupancy sensors installed statewide. Occupancy sensors are a low-cost, high-gain energy efficiency method that are relatively cheap to purchase and set up, and require little to no maintenance once installed. They control energy use using motion detectors to turn on and off lights in high-use areas.
Lighting retrofits are some of the simpler steps you can take to increase the efficiency of a building and, correspondingly, see energy costs decline. Are you ready to take action in your community? Stay tuned for Local Government Energy Action lighting stories!
About the Local Government Energy Action Series:
This year-long effort tells the stories of nearly 50 Minnesota municipalities, counties, and schools; and the tangible results of their energy-saving efforts to inspire others to take their own actions. See all stories in this series >>
Local Government Energy Action is brought to you by the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources.