Sampson County School officials are moving forward with a project to replace lights at Midway High School to help save money.
Mark Hammond, executive director of auxiliary services for the district, presented the project to the Board of Education during a Tuesday meeting. According to Hammond, the district paid more than $1.6 million in energy bills. One of the goals for Hammond is to save $200,000. One way to help with the goal is LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lighting ,which saves energy through a semiconductor light source.
“It’s much more cost efficient than what we have,” Hammond said.
To help with upfront costs, Hammond connected with Victory Lighting Inc. for the re-lamping program, through Duke Energy. Project Manager Billy Vick and Chad Reynolds of Victory Lighting listed some of the advantages. One of the first locations on the list is Midway High School, a 10 year old school which uses traditional fluorescent tubes. Hammond said it was easier to use Midway as a pilot since it’s one the newer schools.
“I’ll be able to gauge for the other facilities we have, based on what we’re learning with Midway,” Hammond said. “It was a lot easier to do the leg work in the beginning.”
Vick said the ballasts, which effects electrical circuits will need to replaced in years to come. With the LED, Vick said they could eliminate the need by going with a ballast-bypass tube
“There’s no longer a need for that $14 expense per fixture,” Vick said regarding more than 1,000 fixtures at Midway High.
The current fixtures use 120W and the proposed lamps would only use 68W per fixture. Vick said it could save the school $27,000 a year on energy, based on the watts reductions.
If the school was to purchase the bulbs, it would cost more than $38,000. Duke Energy is allowing a rebate of $27,000. As an associate vendor, Victory Lighting could offer the money upfront. That means the district would only have to pay a little over $11,000.
Vick stressed that it will eliminate maintenance costs becuase of bulb’s lifespan.
“Not only are you going to save on energy costs, you’re going to save on future maintenance becuase your guys won’t be working on replacing bulbs as often,” Vick said.
Vick and Reynolds said Duke encourages its affiliates to switch to LED becuase of the efficiency and costs.
During the presentation, Hammond said district maintenance employees are capable of making the switches, which would not cost the district. Work began recently at the bus garage and plant facility. The process took less than 10 minutes per fixture. While addressing the board, Hammond suggested that it’s the way of the future and many LED bulbs are replacing old ones now.
“The guys are doing this day in and day out,” Hammond said. “Now we’re drawing a line in the sand and saying that we’re going to be involved in this program and get the ball rolling.”
More than a dozen of Sampson schools are eligible for the program, since Duke Energy provides electricity to the building. Other schools use Four County Electric Membership and South River Electric Membership Corporation.
Several board members questioned if the switch could be made at all schools in the future while the offer is still available. Hammond said he never re-lamped an entire school and plans to make more facilities eligible, if everything works out at Midway. Board Chair Timothy Register added that all of the schools have quality lighting, but the matter now is taking advantage of cost savings.
“I think it’s important for the board looks at all schools down the road,” said Board Member Dewain Sinclair.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.