City Hall energy efficient lighting retrofit means $15,000 annual savings

The recently completed replacement and retrofitting of nearly 1,000 lights and fixtures in Asheville City Hall will mean an annual savings to the city of $15,000, says Linda Fowler, Project Manager for the Office of Sustainability.

The $125,000 installation, completed in mid-December, was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and was identified by Asheville City Council as a way to advance its goals of reducing the city’s municipal carbon footprint.

The upgrades will not only result in savings in operating costs, but are also anticipated to bring in about $31,000 in rebates from Progress Energy Carolina’s Energy Efficiency for Businesses program, which rewards energy efficiency measures in non-residential buildings.

“We changed every light in the building, with the exception of the historic chandeliers like those in City Council Chambers,” Fowler says. That includes offices, stairwells, restrooms and basement facilities. The new lights not only reduce power usage but also provide better light throughout Asheville City Hall. “This is much closer to full-spectrum light. The whole building looks different,” she says.

The retrofitting also included about 150 automatic light switches that turn off lights in offices if no movement is detected, and automatically turn lights on and off in restrooms and other parts of the building to reduce unnecessary use of electricity.

Removed lighting fixtures will be recycled, Fowler says, and thousands of old fluorescent bulbs have already been disposed of using the city’s own crushing unit which removes and stores mercury from the bulbs. With shipping and disposal of fluorescent bulbs typically an expensive procedure, being able to handle them in-house also reduces costs to the city.

“This is a money saver just like the new lights are a money saver,” Fowler says.

The City Hall lighting retrofit project is one of four such projects that were identified to best reduce energy use and stretch taxpayer dollars. Other energy retrofit projects include Civic Center Banquet Hall HVAC system redesign, solar thermal hot water systems for Asheville Fire Stations 6 and 8, and weatherization upgrades for Fire Station 8. Click here to see more information on the City of Asheville’s initiatives and projects to reduce its carbon footprint.