Keeping the Lights On: “saving money and energy”

Lights being installed on third floor of Wayzata High School.

Sean Carroll

Lights being installed on third floor of Wayzata High School.

Sean Carroll, Staff Writer

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  Wayzata High School is switching all lights in the hallways to LED lights, also known as Light Emitting Diodes that run on an electrical circuit by channeling electricity through semiconductors, rather than the fluorescent lights that use electrons to turn
mercury into gas and collide with the gas to release light photons, according to Frye Electric.
  This switch will save the school money and energy, according to Wayzata High School Master Electrician Dan Carlson.
  “The 2’x4’ light fixtures in the horseshoes use about 30 percent less power. The 1’x4’ fixtures in the hallways and stairwells have a 35 percent savings and the round can lights are being replaced with 2’x2’ fixtures which have substantial savings in both power (about 50 percent) and maintenance costs,” said Carlson.
  The new fixtures also do not allow filth—such as dirt or insects—to be collected in its interior, according to Carlson. This will also lower the need for maintenance down the line.
  The fixtures will not need maintenance for their life expectancy, which is estimated to be twenty-five years or more. According to Carlson, this is because there are no ballasts or lamps to burn out.
  “Fluorescent lamps last approximately 12,000 hours and in the hallway of Wayzata High School three years. Unlike LEDs, fluorescent lamps are brightest when new and lose brightness over their lifespan. LEDs do not,” said Carlson.
  The switch, however, is not for every light in the school. “At this point, the classroom lights are still a current fixture and lamp which provides the necessary lighting level for a classroom,” said Carlson.
  According to Carlson, the hallway areas were chosen as a priority for installation because they are on much more of the time. “Between the LED fixtures and motion sensors, this is a far greater return on investment,” Carlson said.
  According to Carlson, the LED lights have already been tested and installed at current Wayzata construction sites. This includes Meadow Ridge, which is 99 percent LED lighting and the new elementary school which will feature one hundred percent LED lights.
  “Since we have been installing them, the failure rate we have seen is far less than
point one percent.The lights typically fail [if they do fail] within the first few weeks and are covered by warranty,” said Carlson.
  The lights were installed by Phasor Electric with supervision from Carlson. “Phasor
provided labor quotes along with several other vendors and Wayzata Schools is providing the fixtures also through vendor quotes,” said Carlson. “Our costs are significantly lower than retail and we are able to purchase tax exempt.”
  Wayzata High School’s current electric bill is around $30,000 to $40,000 a month with lighting accounting for 35 percent of the cost, according to Carlson.
  “Xcel Energy’s prescribed rebate program reimburses us for every fixture upgraded which can vary from 50 percent to nearly the entire cost of the fixture,” said Carlson. “The combination of rebates, life and maintenance costs of the existing fixtures and decrease in LED fixture cost made this a very opportune time for this project which will set us up for long-term cost savings.”
  The project is on schedule, according to Carlson, and is expected to be finished at the end of the year.

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