In the United States, buildings account for 40 percent of the nation’s energy consumption. A good portion of that usage, approximately 20 to 35 percent, comes from lighting. The opportunity to lower that segment of consumption is increasingly occurring by upgrading lighting.
Following this trend toward energy efficiency in buildings, a suburban Philadelphia township is exploring how to lower its utility bill through an LED (light emitting diode) lighting retrofit. Taking advantage of features that LED lights offer over traditional lights, such as lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved strength and easier maintenance, Tredyffrin Township had lights installed on Aug. 5 in the township building as a preliminary assessment through LED Saving Solutions.
LEDs produce more light per watt than incandescent bulbs and can be easily dimmed. Unlike some traditional lighting, LEDs can emit light of a particular color without the use of color filters and do not contain mercury. Although initially, LED lights are expensive, significant savings realized over time offset upfront costs while smaller energy bills result right away.
If the township goes ahead with the lighting retrofit, it stands to save as much as 81 percent on its lighting power costs. LED Saving Solutions calculated that in 2010 the township would pay approximately $3,500 with LED lights as opposed to nearly $19,000 currently spent on annual lighting costs.
The township could reap savings as much as $15,000 per year, according to LED Saving Solutions, which over time would translate to a savings of $337,000 over the life of the new LED bulbs.
A typical conventional fluorescent lighting bay, approximately two feet by four feet in size, uses over $100 of electricity each year, whereas the new LED light tubes can cut the cost down to $20, according to LED Saving Solutions. The company anticipates such efficiency options will grow to be necessity in 2011 as a result of utility company deregulation.
Local Leadership, Record Time
In a matter of 30 days, Warren Kampf, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Tredyffrin Township, took the initiative following consultation with LED Saving Solutions in early July.
Though a 30-day timeframe is often just a blink when it comes to townships taking new initiatives, Kampf took immediate action upon learning about the potential savings for the community. He learned about the LED lighting in speaking with Charlie Szoradi, president of LED Saving Solutions, at a neighborhood Fourth of July parade. The next business day Kampf arranged for Szoradi’s LED Saving Solutions team to meet with the right township people. Thirty days later demonstration bulbs were in place in the Tredyffrin Township municipal building’s Board of Supervisors conference room and another board room.
The Township is currently exploring the financing options to extend the retrofit throughout the rest of the building as well as other relevant facilities such as the library. The project could measure up to the first municipality to retrofit a facility with the state-of-the-art energy saving LED lighting.
"As Chairman of our township board, I feel a special responsibility to ensure that our township is doing all it can to conserve energy, save costs, and serve as an example of being energy smart for our citizens. The replacement of our lights with these long-life, low-energy LED bulbs, at no cost to our residents, could be an enormous step in the right direction," Warren said.
Taking a leadership role is apparently familiar territory for Mr. Kampf. He has been on the Tredyffrin Township board for six years, and he has been the chair for the past two years. He previously served on the Township Zoning Board. Tredyffrin has already taken the initiative to purchase 20 percent of their electricity from wind power and obtained a grant to buy solar equipment for one of their parks buildings earlier this year. Kampf is a litigation partner in a Philadelphia law firm and grew up in Devon, Pa. Over the summer of 2009, local papers have covered the consideration by Warren Kampf to run for State House of Representatives in 2010 for the Pennsylvania 157th Legislative District. No official announcement of a run for this office has been made by the Kampf camp at the time of this article.
Savings Share Program
The project is made possible by a financing program forged by LED Saving Solutions with financial and lighting partners. Because the expense of replacing lighting, particularly in buildings, is often expensive, LED Saving Solutions procured support in the business sector to make energy efficiency within reach even in an economic downturn.
“Our Energy Savings Share program allows property owners and tenants to retrofit lighting with LED Bulbs that can save 80 percent on lighting costs and last for decades,” Charlie Szoradi, president of LED Saving Solutions said. “Our program includes free lighting energy audits and reports, free demonstrations with sample bulbs on-site at the property, free installation, and arrangements that include zero down and monthly payments that are less than the monthly savings. This structure delivers positive cash flow in the very first month.”
“We took the opportunity to our township supervisor because we knew that when presented with the savings data Warren would follow through. This is the perfect example of ‘Think Global, Act Local,’” Szoradi added.