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At work and play, lighting leads the way

Posted in Energy conservation, Lighting on October 24th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off


Photo of metal halide lighting at WRAC

Before: Metal halide lamps in two Wenatchee Racquet and Athletic Club tennis courts used 19,980 watts per court.

Photo of new fluorescent lighting at WRAC

After: New T5 fluorescent lighting uses just 8,420 watts per court.

WRAC tennis courts ace an upgrade

Muffed serves or missed shots on the indoor tennis courts at the Wenatchee Racquet and Athletic Club (WRAC) can’t be blamed on poor lighting anymore. The 37 noisy, dim metal halide light fixtures previously used on two of the indoor tennis courts have been replaced with quiet, bright, instant-on T5 fluorescent light fixtures.

Manager Evy Gillin said the old lamps required long warm-up times and had to be left on constantly when the club was open. The new fluorescents provide bright light instantly and are on switches that can be operated at the club’s front desk.

On the other two courts, the original lighting system with 44 outdated, eight-lamp T12 fluorescent fixtures has also been replaced with 32 six-lamp T5 fixtures, emitting far greater light levels.

Energy savings from installing fluorescents and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) at the tennis and racquetball courts, at the club’s outdoor pool and in the club building are estimated at 362,618 kilowatt hours per year, enough to power 16 Chelan County homes. The WRAC received $43,602 from Chelan PUD’s Resource$mart program to help offset its total cost of $64,293.

WRAC member Brian Wengreen, a retired PUD engineer, volunteered to coordinate this project with help from more than 40 member volunteers. Their volunteer labor made the project affordable for the club, Gillin said. Key to those efforts were Brian Gundersen, Dick Lester, Randy Smith, Ted Brisbine of Brisbine Electric and retired electrician Heinz Schlipf.

One more project is planned to complete relighting the entire club.


Stemilt upgrade is a fruitful endeavor

Photo of apple storage at Stemilt

Stemilt managers say they expect to quickly recoup their investment in new energy-efficient lighting through lower electric bills at their processing/packing/shipping plant on Euclid Avenue in Wenatchee.

“I can see clearly now” is the song employees are singing at the Stemilt processing plant on Euclid Avenue in Wenatchee after lighting was upgraded in over 300,000 square feet of space.

OK, they’re not really singing, and you couldn’t hear it over the hum of forklifts and conveyor belts if they were. But Steve Frodsham, the fruit processor’s electrical administrator, says employees love the new lighting at the sprawling plant where apples, pears and cherries are received, processed, stored and shipped.

Energy-efficient LEDs on motion sensors now illuminate many of the cold storage rooms, providing immediate light when someone enters. Frodsham said he knew it was time to replace the plant’s numerous metal halide lights, so he tested fluorescents before moving to LEDs. But even the most modern fluorescent tube lamps failed to come on quickly enough to light rooms for forklift drivers as they moved in and out. Cold was a factor, he said, since most of the 100-plus storage units are kept at a chilly 32 degrees. (LED lights love the cold. They last longer and are brighter.)

Fluorescent lights are being used above packing lines, in hallways and elsewhere, though, and they’re a big improvement, Frodsham said.

Beckstead Electric of Wenatchee installed the lighting. Jim White, Chelan PUD engineer, arranged funding from the PUD and documented energy savings.

Photo of Steve Frodsham

Steve Frodsham

White said 1,400 light fixtures were retrofitted or replaced at a cost of $605,704. Chelan PUD’s Resource$mart program provided $435,048 of the cost. Projected annual savings is 2,900,000 kilowatt hours — enough to power 145 homes.

“This is an old facility,” Frodsham said. “A general lighting concept was never part of its evolution. When Jim and Beckstead (Electric) came in we were able to engineer it to suit our needs. A lot of areas that didn’t have sufficient light are now well-lit.

“Lighting makes a big difference in how people feel and how they perform,” he added. “We couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”

Photo of Stemilt packing line

A packing line at Stemilt’s Euclid Avenue plant is illuminated by new fluorescent lighting. Chelan PUD’s Resource$mart program helps pay for energy-efficient upgrades at local businesses.


No hazardous waste collection this year

Posted in Energy conservation, Environment, Recycling on September 25th, 2013 by Susan – 1 Comment

Chelan County will not be hosting its annual, one-day hazardous waste collection this fall. But if you hang onto your old paint and fluorescent light tubes a little longer, you’ll be able to take them to a permanent facility on a regular basis.

Photo of rusted paint canBrenda Blanchfield, Chelan County Solid Waste director, said the county plans to build a Moderate Risk Waste Facility within the next year. It will function like a transfer station and be open two to three days a week. You’ll be able to drop off household materials including paint, motor chemicals, pool chemicals, garden pesticides, compact fluorescent light bulbs and fluorescent tubes.

“We’ll try to make it as useful as possible for people without duplicating any services already offered in the community,” Blanchfield said.

Grants totaling $600,000 from the state Department of Ecology will be used to acquire property and build the facility, which tentatively is being called the Clean Collection Center. The location hasn’t been determined yet, Blanchfield said, although Cashmere is being considered.

No collection events were scheduled for 2013 because a new facility was supposed to have been built by now. Plans to build a collection center at Olds Station fell through, she said.

While you’re waiting for the new center, Blanchfield suggests a few options:

  • Household compact fluorescent light bulbs can be taken to Home Depot or Lowe’s for recycling.
  • Fluorescent tubes can be recycled using mail-in services from Total Reclaim or Waste Management.
  • Motor oil, antifreeze and automotive batteries can be dropped off for free at the county’s Chelan and Dryden transfer stations.
  • To dispose of latex paint, add kitty litter or sawdust until the paint is the consistency of oatmeal. Let it dry, then throw it in the garbage. The Habitat for Humanity Store will take new or fairly new paint. The best way to get rid of paint, Blanchfield adds, is to use it up.
  • Old gasoline can be a problem, she said, but some gas stations will take it. Some propane companies will take back propane tanks.
  • Refrigerator recycling is available at the Chelan and Dryden transfer stations for a fee. Chelan PUD offers a $30 rebate to customers who recycle fridges but the units must be in working order.

Blanchfield said she understands that “people want to do the right thing, and it’s frustrating when you can’t find a way to do it.”

County-wide recycling information is available on the Solid Waste website.

Clinic lighting project: before and after

Posted in Energy conservation, Lighting on February 5th, 2013 by Susan – Comments Off

Photo of clinic before lighting updatePhoto of clinic lighting after upgrade

Can you guess which lighting system uses the least amount of power? The top photo shows the lighting near the pharmacy on the first floor of Wenatchee Valley Medical Center before lighting efficiency improvements were made. The bottom photo  shows the first-floor hallway after the fixtures were outfitted with new fluorescent and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. The lights in the lower photo use 60 percent less energy than the original lights. Modern lighting technologies can save energy AND provide better light.

All lights in the eastern portion of the building (not including the surgical center), and parking lot lights, have been replaced. Chelan County PUD is paying about half the cost of the lighting improvements through its Resource$mart program.

CFL recycling discontinued at PUD

Posted in Energy conservation, Environment, Lighting, Uncategorized on January 7th, 2013 by Susan – Comments Off
Image of recycle poster

Click on graphic for larger image.

Chelan County PUD has discontinued its program to recycle compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). CFL recycling remains available at two Wenatchee locations: Home Depot, 1405 Maiden Lane, and Lowe’s Home Improvement, 1200 Walla Walla Ave.

Recycling is being dropped due to low volume and changes in state regulations. The PUD started a CFL recycling program in 2010, when conservation staff distributed thousands of free CFLs as part of its energy-efficiency programs. But few customers have taken advantage of the free program.

The state legislature passed a law, now being implemented, that asks manufacturers to pay for the collection, transportation and recycling of mercury-containing lights in Washington. That program has been delayed but when finalized, will set up drop-off points for CFLs, fluorescent tubes and High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights through a statewide collection network.

Officials at Home Depot and Lowe’s in Wenatchee confirmed that they will continue to accept the small, household CFLs. They do not accept fluorescent tubes. Apple City Electric used to recycle fluorescent tubes but has dropped that service. Chelan County’s Solid Waste division accepts fluorescent tubes at its annual hazardous waste collection event, usually held in October.

More information
Department of Ecology’s Mercury-Containing Lights Product Stewardship program

Washington State Light Recycling Program – ProductCare (contractor)

Turn in household hazardous wastes

Posted in Environment, Recycling on September 28th, 2012 by Susan – Comments Off

Photo of Fluorescent light tubesChelan County will host its annual Household Hazardous Waste Event on Saturday, Oct. 6, at four locations. They are:

  • Wenatchee — Chelan County Shop, 210 Easy St., 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Chelan — Fire District 7 station, 232 E. Wapato Road, 2:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Entiat — Fire District 8 station, Entiat River Road, 11 a.m. to noon (Entiat residents: Please take large amounts — those in drums — to the Wenatchee site)
  • Peshastin — Elementary School, 10001 School Road, 8 to 10:30 a.m.

You must be a Chelan County resident to participate. Bring a photo ID as proof of residency.

For year-round disposal options for fluorescent tubes, antifreeze, motor oil, paint, pesticides and batteries call Chelan County Public Works, (509) 667-6415.  Another option is the Habitat for Humanity store at 615 S. Wenatchee Ave., which accepts latex paint in usable condition (no rusty cans or paint that’s been frozen).