One of the most popular ways to achieve energy efficiency and realize cost savings in your firehouse is through lighting methods. Incandescent bulbs are an inefficient way to light compared to the newer alternatives.
By replacing incandescent with high-efficiency lighting upgrades, like fluorescents and light-emitting diodes (LED), the payback can happen in a relatively short period. Experts put the breakeven point for these projects at around two to four years. This is really good, considering the life we must get out of our facilities.
Another way to save energy is to install sensors that activate lighting when someone enters a space and turns off the lights when no activity occurs in that space for a predetermined amount of time. These types of switches use some phantom energy and so should be used in spaces where the lights are left on for extended periods of time when no one is present. Do you have any of these spaces in your fire stations?
A couple of examples demonstrate these popular energy-efficient upgrades for fire departments.
The first example is from the Raleigh (N.C.) Fire Department (RFD). By upgrading their lighting, RFD achieved a 154,190 kW energy reduction, which is enough power to run 13 homes annually.
RFD reduced their costs by over $11,000 per year and achieved a payback in less than three. Best of all, the fiscal benefits were accompanied by better quality lighting, enhancing the work environment by making it safer and more productive.
The second example comes from the Durham (N.C.) Fire Department. They reduced their electricity consumption by two-thirds. They replaced their less-efficient T12 fluorescent lighting with the more energy efficient relative, T8 and T5. The bulbs are smaller in diameter, but use less energy and put off similar amounts of light.
Energy efficient lighting is a popular upgrade because it's easy, well used and cost effective. What opportunities exist in your fire department to upgrade lighting?