Tuesday, May 5, 2015

LED project at Reid expected to save money, reduce carbon footprint

(Story by Madelyn Kinyon)

An ongoing lighting replacement project at Reid is expected to save more than $500,000 a year and reduce the overall “carbon footprint” of health system facilities, Reid officials said.

Jeff Cook, Reid’s Director of Engineering, said that this project will allow Reid to save money, be more energy-efficient, and more environmentally friendly.

Many companies are implementing LED technology. Over the last 5 to 7 years, the technology has become a much more reliable and affordable light source, Cook said. Ten years ago, LED lighting was more costly to install, did not last as long, and savings over regular lighting were minimal. Today, LED can save up to half the cost of traditional lighting by lowering energy consumption.

In the late third quarter of 2014, Energy Harness LED Lighting Solutions Corporation approached Cook and asked to give a presentation about their fixtures. Cook’s interest was piqued when he saw the savings potential. Reid began slowly with implementing the lighting into the main campus buildings in phases. They include:

  • Phase One -- lower level lighting.
  • Phase Two -- common areas on first floor.
  • Phase Three -- first floor and Reid-owned billboards along I-70 in Wayne County.
  • Phase Four -- the Reid Patient Tower, the latest and largest phase. Implementing Phase Four is more costly at an estimated $731,000, but Cook said the project will begin paying for itself in less than three years.

Phase Four was recently approved by the Reid Governing board and will take 4-5 months. The lighting has a life expectancy of 10-15 years. Reid will decrease over half of its carbon footprint with the change to LED.

“After part of Phase One was completed, a gentleman asked to do an energy audit to find more energy savings for Reid; he wanted to charge $2,000. I told him that if he could not find $2,000 worth of energy savings that he would have to do this audit for free, and he did it for free. His report came back saying that Reid is the most energy-efficient hospital that he had ever been to -- as far as big companies go, Reid is ahead of many,” Cook said.

When organizations as large as Reid take “green” energy efficient steps, it reduces the demand on power companies and at the same time reduces expenses for the company. “If energy can be conserved now, it may mean saving millions by reducing the future need for additional power sources,” Cook said.

“When I go to conferences and interact with my peer group, other hospitals are just now catching up and implementing energy saving technology to decrease their energy costs. When Reid built the new campus, we did our best to be energy-efficient in by wringing every drop of energy-saving technology available during design and construction from the big motors and machines, building automation and lighting. I think we did a great job by deciding to invest early,” Cook noted. “That said, LED technology today has evolved to a point that not investing now is wasting dollars today and in the future.”

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