Just a few short years ago, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) were the “hottest” efficient technology and utilities were building entire programs around encouraging customers to swap out their old incandescent lights. Then the price of the even more efficient LED, or light-emitting diode, lamps started to drop and customers had another option. They also had a case of technology whiplash that left many feeling more than a little skeptical about manufacturer claims. If you would like some help in persuading your customers about the benefits of state-of-the-art lighting technology, check out this lighting fact sheet from Lincoln County Power District No. 1.
The fact sheet promotes LCPD’s lighting program that offers each residential customer one 10-watt LED lamp to try out at home for a year. The 10-watt LED gives off light that is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb or a 14-watt CFL. Installing an LED in the most used light fixture in the house could save consumers nearly 55 kilowatt-hours annually.
Some of the information on the fact sheet is specific to LCPD customers, of course, but much of it is general or can easily be adapted to your utility. For example, if you simply change the price of electricity on the cost comparison table, it will show your customers how much money LEDs can save them in their own homes.
The fact sheet explains how to use LEDs (hint: just like incandescents and CFLs) and gives tips on getting the most benefits from the efficient lighting technology. You don’t need to be offering a program similar to LCPD’s lighting program to find this fact sheet useful, but your customers may ask for one when they learn about the advantages of LEDs.
Visit Energy Services Publications to find more fact sheets on technologies and programs to improve load management and customer relations.
Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) Emerging Technologies Showcase series presents Mogul Base LED Lamps for Retrofits,a free webinar on Sept. 24 at 1 PM Mountain Time.
High intensity discharge (HID) lamps with large screw-in “mogul” base sockets can be found lighting roadways, parking lots, building exteriors and high bay interiors. Although HID lamps represent only 2 percent of all installed lamps in the U.S., they account for 26 percent of the nation’s lighting energy use. Retrofitting with LED, or light-emitting diode, replacement lamps is an opportunity for strategic energy savings.
This webinar describes performance and safety tests of a selection of mogul base LED replacement lamps for energy efficient retrofits. Researchers used criteria from the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) to determine lamp efficacy and application. DLC, a program for advancing efficient lighting technology, is still in the process of establishing categories for LED replacement lamps.
There is no charge for participating in the webinar, but registration is required. Find recordings of past webinars in the series on the Energy Efficiency Emerging Technologies (E3T) website. E3T is a program of Bonneville Power Administration for evaluating the performance and market potential of new technologies. BPA sponsors the webinar series with support from Western.
When Tom Clark Jr. sized up the grocery store space he’d leased in Snowmass Village, Colorado, last year, it was clear Clark’s Market needed a soup-to-nuts overhaul to take advantage of today’s advanced heating, refrigeration and lighting systems.
Gutting the 14,000-square-foot space and installing new super-efficient systems were going to cost more upfront, but, “Going with the standard was never really an option for us,” said Clark.
Clark’s Market turned to member-owned Holy Cross Energy and its We Care energy efficiency program for help, just as hundreds of other businesses and households served by the electric co-op have done over the past nine years.
A rebate of $15,000 from Holy Cross made the market’s investment in high-efficiency upgrades a lot easier to swallow. “These things aren’t cheap, but once you get them in place the benefits are numerous,” said Clark, who opened the market for business in July 2014. “When you are operating with energy-efficient equipment, it runs cooler, runs longer, there’s less maintenance and you can put out a superior product. It has been such a runaway success for us.”
Clark is focused on quality, but the high-efficiency systems are also saving energy. From September 2014 to March 2015, Clark’s Market used 155,000 fewer kilowatt-hours (kWh), cut the store’s electric demand in half and saved $13,268 on electric bills compared to bills tallied by the previous grocery store in the same space.
Results at Clark’s Market prove that energy efficiency is a solid investment, and Holy Cross Energy is working to help more of its business and household consumers benefit from similar paybacks.
One of 1,000 upgrades Seeking deeper energy savings from its We Care program, Holy Cross Energy set a five-year goal in 2013 for its consumers to save 33,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity per year by 2017. That is equal to all the electricity used per year by 2,457 homes in the Holy Cross service area, spread across Eagle, Pitkin and Garfield counties.
Last year, 829 Holy Cross consumers completed more than 1,000 energy upgrades that will save 10,106 MWh of electricity per year, according to Mary Wiener, energy efficiency program administrator for Holy Cross. “This is on top of 6,241 MWh of annual savings from projects done in 2013, so we are halfway to our goal in the first two years,” Wiener said.
The first half of 2015 builds on that trend with the co-op paying out rebates for 667 measures. Wiener estimates that the annual savings from this year’s projects so far will total more than 3 million kWh. “And these savings will continue for years into the future,” she added.
Rebates offset project costs Holy Cross Energy provides expert help and rebates to help its residential and commercial consumers make these upgrades.
“We understand that people appreciate getting help to make smart decisions, and the rebates show our consumers that we are their partner in energy efficiency,” said Wiener.
Holy Cross paid out more than $1.1 million in rebates in 2014 to consumers to offset a portion of their investments in energy savings. A 2-percent surcharge added to electric bills provides funding for the rebates.
Holy Cross staff visited more than 200 homes to provide complimentary home energy assessments. The co-op also helped pay for 68 Energy Smart Colorado home assessments. A total of 592 households made energy upgrades in 2014, said Wiener. “LED lights and recycling old refrigerators were by far the most popular upgrades,” she said. “People also replaced leaky windows, switched to programmable thermostats, swapped out their old holiday lights for LED strings and installed heat tape timers.”
Holy Cross also continued its partnership with the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCOG) to offer a home weatherization program to income-qualified households. In 2014, the NWCCOG crew made upgrades for 22 households, using a $46,000 contribution from Holy Cross.
Because such facilities use so much more electricity than single-family homes, projects at 177 of these properties delivered 93 percent of the total electric savings from 2014 projects.
For these projects, LED lighting was the upgrade of choice, delivering the added benefit of reduced maintenance. “LED lighting is the hot ticket for businesses, lodges and condos,” said Wiener. “These projects deliver immediate energy savings and rapid payback on your investment. We expect to see a lot more lighting upgrades as people see the excellence of these new LED fixtures and bulbs.”
More rebates available Saving energy through efficiency upgrades and generating energy from solar panels means Holy Cross Energy is passing up sales of electricity. “Why would a utility want its consumers to use less electricity? Because it actually saves Holy Cross money,” explained Holy Cross CEO Del Worley. “In fact, we expect the savings from this past year’s efforts to save Holy Cross $1.8 million in power costs over the next five years.”
Worley pointed out that energy conservation is a cost-effective alternative to investing in costly new power plants, and it reduces the peak demand charges utilities pay their suppliers. Conservation is the most cost-effective investment we can make,” he added.
Members have shown that they support that investment by their participation in the co-op’s rebate program. Holy Cross Energy will continue to support their members—and its five-year goal—with rebate funding and technical assistance to home and business owners.
Out-of-date lights at Bear Paw Lodge in Beaver Creek, Colorado, were eating up not only electricity, but also staff time to replace burned-out bulbs. To tame the lighting system’s bruin-sized appetite, the managers of the luxury home and condo resort turned to Holy Cross Energy for help.
Over the last nine years, the cooperative’s We Care energy-efficiency program has helped hundreds of businesses and households in the Roaring Fork Valley upgrade to more efficient systems and equipment.
Retrofit delivers lower costs, less maintenance The slope-side resort invested in high-efficiency LEDs for the common areas, parking garages, stairwells and ski lockers. The Bear Paw homeowners’ association can expect savings on their energy bill of about $23,000 per year. LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, also provide better light and last significantly longer than conventional lamps. Tim Schwartz, chief engineer for the lodge, said he is looking forward to working until retirement without having to change a single light bulb.
A rebate of $31,500 from Holy Cross, plus $2,500 from Energy Smart Colorado, made Bear Paw’s total project investment a lot easier to swallow. The lower, out-of-pocket costs give the whole project a payback period of less than three years.Results like Bear Paw’s prove that energy efficiency is good business sense. Member-owned Holy Cross Energy is working to help more of its business and household consumers realize similar paybacks.
Savings pile up Seeking deeper energy savings from its We Care program, the utility set a five-year goal in 2013 for its consumers to save 33,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity per year by 2017. That equals all the electricity used annually by 2,457 homes in the Holy Cross service area, which spreads across Eagle, Pitkin and Garfield counties.
In 2014 alone, more than 1,000 energy upgrades done by 829 Holy Cross consumers will save 10,106 MWh of electricity per year, according to Mary Wiener, energy efficiency program administrator for Holy Cross.
“This is on top of 6,241 megawatt-hours of annual savings from projects done in 2013, so we are halfway to our goal in the first two years,” Wiener said. “These savings will continue for years into the future,” she added.
Consumers get on board To encourage residential and commercial consumers to make energy-saving upgrades, Holy Cross Energy provides expert help and rebates. “We understand that people appreciate getting help to make smart decisions, and the rebates show our consumers that we are their partner in energy efficiency,” said Wiener.
In 2014 alone, Holy Cross paid out more than $1.1 million in rebates to consumers to offset a portion of their investments in efficiency. Funding for the rebates comes from a 2-percent surcharge added to electric bills.
Holy Cross energy coaches visited more than 200 homes to provide complimentary home energy assessments, and the cooperative helped pay for 68 Energy Smart Colorado home assessments. A total of 592 households made energy upgrades in 2014, said Wiener.
“LED lights and recycling old refrigerators were by far the most popular upgrades,” she said. “People also replaced leaky windows, switched to programmable thermostats, swapped out their old holiday lights for LED strings and installed heat tape timers.”
Holy Cross also continued its partnership with the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCOG), which offers a home weatherization program to income-qualified households. In 2014, the NWCCOG crew used a $46,000 contribution from Holy Cross to make upgrades for 22 households.
LED lighting is project of choice Bringing the benefits of efficiency to businesses and multi-family housing properties is a challenge for all utilities. Holy Cross partnered with Energy Smart Colorado to offer free building walk-throughs and energy coaching to this hard-to-reach market. Locally administered by the Community Office for Resource Efficiency, Clean Energy Economy for the Region and Walking Mountains Science Center, Energy Smart Colorado provides program services to help utilities and municipalities meet energy-efficiency and carbon reduction goals.
Because businesses and lodging use so much more electricity than individual homes, projects at 177 businesses and 51 multi-family properties delivered 93 percent of the total electric savings from 2014 projects.
LED lighting was the project of choice—not surprising, given the added benefit of reduced maintenance. “LED lighting is the hot ticket for businesses, lodges and condos,” said Wiener. “These projects deliver immediate energy savings and rapid payback on your investment. We expect to see a lot more lighting upgrades in 2015 as people see the superior quality of these new LED fixtures and bulbs.”
More rebates for 2015 projects So why would a utility want its consumers to use less electricity? “Because it actually saves Holy Cross money,” explained Del Worley, Holy Cross CEO. “In fact, we expect the savings from this year’s efforts to save Holy Cross $1.8 million dollars in power costs over the next five years.”“Energy conservation means we don’t need to invest in costly new power plants, and it reduces the peak demand charges we pay our supplier. Conservation is the most cost-effective investment we can make,” he said.
Holy Cross Energy members agree, and have expressed support for these programs. They can expect more rebate funding from Holy Cross this year to help them invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
El Camino Real, a historic road that runs nearly the full length of California’s coastline, is making history again for its role in a six-month pilot project being conducted by the City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU). In partnership with energy technology provider Petra Systems, CPAU recently installed a string of nine smart solar streetlights along “The Royal Road.”
The installation is testing the potential to generate renewable energy on streetlight poles. Solar photovoltaic, or PV, modules placed high on the poles capture the sun’s energy and send it to the city’s electric grid. The technology could help transform ordinary streetlights into a network of distributed solar power generating assets.
Taking community’s pulse The PV-fitted streetlights are located along a well-trafficked mile of El Camino Real. Interpretive signs in the area educate passers-by about the technology. “The pilot project area runs right by Stanford University, as well as soccer fields and parks, so residents will see what we are doing and be able to form an opinion about it,” noted CPAU Communications Manager Catherine Elvert. “We are encouraging community members to provide feedback through an online survey.”
The survey asks questions about residents’ support for CPAU increasing the use of solar power, and allows them to express concerns about aesthetics, light quality and other issues. “The customer response to these modules can help us gauge how aggressively to pursue this type of local generation,” Elvert added.
CPAU is engaged in several local solar initiatives as part of its ongoing commitment to invest in clean energy resources.
Innovating through partnership Through its Program for Emerging Technologies, the municipal utility is able to “test drive” systems that may improve operations, create jobs and boost the sustainability of CPAU’s generation portfolio. Launched in 2012, the program seeks out and nurtures creative products and services that manage and better use electricity, gas, water and fiber optic services.
Partnering with high-tech companies keeps the cost of innovation down. The El Camino Solar Test project will increase Palo Alto’s renewable energy production at no cost to the city. Petra Systems offered CPAU the solar modules to evaluate their performance over the six-month pilot duration. The nine units are estimated to have a total nameplate capacity of about 2.25 kilowatts, with each solar module expected to produce 374 kilowatt-hours per year. That electricity is enough to power the equivalent of two streetlights, making the LED, or light-emitting diode, streetlights net producers of electricity.
Improving service, lowering costs Project Manager Lindsay Joye pointed out that generation is just a small part of smart solar technology performance. “The technology goes well beyond self-powering to give the city greater control of its streetlight assets,” she said.
The modules are equipped with an LED light controller that allows the city to remotely turn streetlights on or off. The brightness of individual lights or groups of lights can be adjusted to accommodate the traffic levels in different neighborhoods, as well. On a citywide scale, the dimming function can provide even deeper energy savings from the already-efficient LED lamps, Joye noted.
The system offers additional features that can streamline maintenance and enhance public safety. The controller can flicker specific lights to help direct emergency response personnel when needed, and can notify the city immediately of a malfunctioning light, including the failure type and exact location. Elvert said, “If the city decides to expand the project, high-traffic roads and expressways would be good candidates for installations. With the smart-grid and remote control capabilities, there would be less need to put our crews in harm’s way.”
Most energy-saving technologies are invisible to users, but for some technologies, non-energy benefits (NEB) can be the deciding factor in getting consumers to spring for that energy-efficient new appliance or system.
NEBs are those “warm fuzzies” that keep customers happy—things like improved productivity, comfort, safety, health, process control or resale value. Commercial customers who do not excited about cutting energy costs or saving the environment might light up when they learn that a technology could reduce inventory, address regulatory concerns or cut down on maintenance. Especially for projects that don’t have a quick direct payback, NEBs can make the business case to move forward.
The E3TNW database of new and emerging efficiency technologies, co-sponsored by Western and Bonneville Power Administration, has a field just for NEBs. Because these benefits often influence purchasers more than the energy cost savings, they can have a big impact on how quickly and deeply a new technology is adopted.
Beyond efficiency One example is interior storm windows, which can cut window energy losses by a quarter or more. These cost-effective alternatives to window replacement are available as easily installed Plexiglas models for homes and double-pane, aluminum-frame models for commercial buildings. They can cut cold drafts and raise the temperature of the interior pane, reduce outside noise and reduce condensation that can cause mold and damage window frames. Some come with solar-controlling tints and UV filters to reduce glare, heat gain and fabric fading. Homeowners who want to be more comfortable and protect their furnishings might see the energy-efficiency performance as just icing on the cake.
LED lighting is another technology that can almost sell itself on NEBs alone. The lamps are four to six times more efficient than incandescent lamps and last about 50 times as long, a point to mention to customers with critical lighting in hard-to-reach places.Unlike metal halide or high-pressure sodium lamps, LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, can be dimmed to save additional energy in areas where daylighting may occasionally be sufficient for the task. Warehouse managers might appreciate how easily the lighting can be automated and programmed for “just in time” use—turning on and off only when occupants enter the space—without needing a warm-up period to reach full intensity. The lamps perform much better than fluorescent lamps in cold temperatures, don’t contain mercury and can change color as needed to support plant growth and intangibles such as workers’ mood and productivity.
Speaking of mood, innovative products like the Sky LED Panel can liven up dreary spaces without putting an expensive and leaky hole in the building envelope. The office light fixture has images on the lens, such as clouds, that make the panel look like a skylight. Imagine the boost that could give to people in a hospital waiting room or drab office cubicle.
The Philips Hue lamp may be just the technology to get your early-adopter customers excited about LEDs. The color, brightness and timing of the lamp can be controlled remotely with a smart phone, a pretty cool app to show off to your tech-savvy friends.
Learn more Too many program managers focus entirely on energy savings and speak purely in engineering terms. Decisions makers, from homeowners to corporate CEOs, usually have other priorities more important to them. Western’s Energy Experts hotline provides a resource for documentation and program ideas to help utility program managers figure out what their customers’ priorities are and how energy-efficiency improvement projects can address them. Contact Energy Experts at 800-765-3756 or submit a technical question online, and don’t forget to browse through Energy Solutions and Utility Options for inspiration.
The mercury in Rapid City, S.D., dipped to 5 degrees on Dec. 6, but inside the Canyon Lake Senior Citizens Center , the new light-emitting diode, or LED, lights shone brightly on those who braved the cold to attend Black Hills Power Energy Efficiency Awareness Day.
Members using the Lake Canyon Senior Center gym for daytime classes can turn off half of the new LED lights and take advantage of daylighting. With the old halide system, the lights were all off or all on. (Photo by Black Hills Power Corp.)The event
The mercury in Rapid City, S.D., dipped to 5 degrees on Dec. 6, but inside the Canyon Lake Senior Citizens Center, the new light-emitting diode, or LED, lights shone brightly on those who braved the cold to attend Black Hills Power Energy Efficiency Awareness Day.
The event showcased the senior center’s lighting retrofit project and gave Black Hills representatives a chance to talk to customers about energy efficiency. The free open house included presentations on the utility’s Energy Efficiency Solutions Program, weatherization and other energy-saving tips and a lunch-and-learn session covering energy-efficient equipment and measures.
Residential customers learned how they could save money with demand controllers, electric heating and cooling options, water heating and heat pump servicing. “Most were asking general questions about energy-efficiency measures and looking for ideas they could put to work at home,” said Black Hills Energy Services Manager Don Martinez.
Black Hills targeted commercial customers with information on custom energy-efficiency projects, geothermal heat pumps and lighting upgrades like the one at the senior center. “We wanted them to see what a cost-effective energy-efficiency measure looks like in action,” Martinez explained.
Better light, lower bills Like many public facilities these days, Canyon Lake is on a tight budget and the staff was looking for ways to cut operating costs. The old-fashioned light fixtures throughout the meeting rooms, cafeteria and kitchen, offices and gymnasium were not helping. “They were killing us,” Center President Rudy Mooney stated bluntly, “and it wasn’t just the electric bills, either. We had to call in a maintenance company three times a year to work on the lights in the gym.”
Replacing T-12 fluorescent lights and 500-watt (W) halide lamps with LED fixtures reduced the center’s electric costs by one-third. “We went from 500 watts per light to 100 in the gym, and from 40 to 15 watts elsewhere,” said Mooney. “That gave us a net savings of about $600 per month, not counting maintenance fees for bulbs and ballasts.”
Just as important, the retrofit maintained the lighting quality, observed Martinez. “The members felt in many cases that the new lights were superior to the old ones,” he said. “They love that the gym lights turn on and off instantly without a warm-up period. Also, they are now able to turn off half of the lights during the day and take advantage of daylighting for dance classes.”
Advise and assist Mooney contacted Martinez shortly after the center received a $50,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to improve the facilities. “I’ve known Don for 30 years,” said Mooney. “I knew he would have some good ideas for the project.”
Martinez started by taking the lighting levels throughout the building, and then pointed the center’s board of directors toward three vendors that had worked with Black Hills. “One bid was for more efficient fluorescents and two were for LED technology, so they had an idea what the potential for savings was,” he said.
After reviewing the proposals with Martinez, the board chose LED technology with a three-year payback. Black Hills rebates contributed an additional $9,000 to the project. “We’re using that money to upgrade the flooring,” said Mooney.
Success all around Mooney said that he appreciated the help Black Hills gave the center with the project and would be open to other energy-efficiency upgrades. “Everyone is trying to be ‘green’ these days,” he observed. “But saving one-third on your electric bills is just common sense. It wasn’t a hard decision.”
The project was good for Black Hills, too, Martinez agreed, even though the weather refused to cooperate—a record-breaking blizzard on the original date forced them to reschedule the event. “It’s one thing to tell people about the benefits of an energy- efficient application,” Martinez admitted. “But it really makes a difference to them when they can walk around under the lights.”
Converting the nation’s streetlights to LED technology could not only reduce energy consumption significantly, but also improve the quality of illumination. The Retrofit Financial Analysis Tool will make it easier for cities, utilities and others to analyze the cost benefit of LED street lighting by giving them specific key information on costs and return on investment.
Users plug in data on variables relevant to their particular project to get a detailed analysis that includes annualized energy-cost savings, maintenance savings, greenhouse gas reductions and simple payback. Decision makers can use this information when putting together construction and conservation grant applications, as well as preparing budgets and comparing the incumbent costs to new.
Users who are purchasing and installing their own streetlights or those requesting bids from outside vendors can use the tool to make sure the lighting meets their goals and needs. The tool accepts data based on three common project models:
Per unit cost for fixtures, hourly rate for installation (owner purchases fixtures and uses internal (or external) labor resources to install units at an hourly rate)
Per unit cost for fixtures, per unit cost for installation (owner purchases fixtures and uses external labor resources to install fixtures at fixed per unit cost)
Single Lump Sum cost for labor and material (owner hires external resources to purchase and install fixtures at a fixed lump sum per-unit cost for labor and material)
For each of these scenarios, pre-construction, construction engineering (inspection) and project management costs may be entered in the Project Overhead and Implementation section to capture all project costs.
Imbedded notes within the tool provide at-a-glance guidance and can be quickly identified in cells with red tags in the upper right corners. MSSLC has created an instructional video, an example analysis and tips to help users get the most from its Retrofit Financial Analysis Tool. (Source: Municipal Solid State Lighting Consortium via American Public Power Association)
Reid was strolling through the electronics department of a department store and noticed that the plasma screen televisions were giving off a lot of heat. Further down the aisle, he realized that there was no heat coming off of another flat screen model. “I assumed it was an LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, which it was,” Reid recalled. “But it was also LED backlit.”
It was about the same time the state of California was considering efficiency standards for TVs. Reid decided that this was a great application for a rebate program.
LCD screens come in two formats—cold cathode fluorescent backlit or LED backlit. The LED screens use about 90 percent less energy than plasma screens, and about 25 percent less than cold cathode LCDs. That efficiency comes at a price, however, and Reid designed the rebate to help offset the price difference.
Customers send the municipal utility proof of payment and the box label for a 25 percent rebate (up to a maximum of $750). “It works out to splitting the difference in price between the LED and the cold cathode TVs,” said Reid.
The rebate also applies to computer monitors, including iMacs which have the computer built into the LED screen. Reid prorates the average rebate for a TV screen based on the diagonal inches of the computer screen.
Simplicity also applied to program marketing. Azusa announced the rebate in bill inserts and placed an ad on a calendar put out by a local recycling company. “Bill inserts are super-effective,” said Reid, “and the calendar worked really well. We didn’t need to do more than that.”
Since the program debuted last July, Azusa has paid out about two dozen rebates, and receives two to three requests weekly. Reid includes the program in his state energy savings reports and has determined that it is more cost effective than cool roof or window replacement incentives. Now, that’s efficiency.