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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

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On the other two courts, the original lighting system with 44 outdated, eight-lamp T12 fluorescent fixtures has also been replaced with 32 six-lamp T5 fixtures, emitting far greater light levels.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

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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.

 

I spy wasted energy

Posted in Appliances, Construction, Electronics, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting, Recycling on May 28th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintHome energy audits can help detect air leaks and other issues

If you don’t like people nosing around your house, don’t invite Greg Jourdan in. He opens closet doors, lets the water run in the bathroom sink, feels around your windows, switches lights on and off and even points a gun, albeit an energy-friendly “thermal gun.”

Photo of home energy audit - Greg Jourdan and John Eder

Greg Jourdan shows homeowner John Eder how a thermal imaging camera finds cold spots in his home.

It’s all for a good cause. Greg Jourdan, an energy consultant and Wenatchee Valley College instructor, navigates through local homes upon request to sleuth out wasted energy. He starts by using diagnostic equipment, including a gun-shaped thermal imaging camera, to identify places where energy is being lost. He supplements his investigation with a big blower fan that he sets up in an exterior entry door to create a large negative air vacuum in the home, to find the air leaks. Then he does a complete walk-through, looking at a home’s insulation, windows, ductwork, heating and cooling, lighting, electronics and appliances. To finish, he issues a report that includes recommendations on how homeowners can make improvements.

John and Linda Eder welcomed Jourdan into their home earlier this month. The Sunnyslope couple won Chelan PUD’s drawing for a free home energy audit at the KPQ Home and Garden Show this spring.

Although it’s 26 years old, their home rated high on Jourdan’s scale of efficiency. The Eders have upgraded to vinyl-framed windows and have adequate insulation. They’ve replaced the incandescent bulbs in their recessed fixtures with LEDs, taking advantage of Chelan PUD’s rebates. They use a heat pump for heating and cooling, and just had it serviced.

Photo of Greg Jourdan with blower door

This fabric door and fan create negative pressure in the house to help measure air leaks.

The Eders use more electricity than might be expected because they heat and cool John’s workshop, bringing their total conditioned space to 3,600 square foot. But on a watts-per-square-foot basis, their energy use is relatively low.

Jourdan did make some general recommendations which apply to most homes, including:

• Set the thermostat  for cooling as high as possible while maintaining reasonable comfort levels while home. Set it to 84 degrees when away from home, or install a programmable thermostat to do that automatically.

• Conversely, place thermostat settings for heating as low as possible while maintaining reasonable comfort levels. Set it to 60 degrees when away, or install a programmable thermostat. (Note: If you have a heat pump, make sure you install a “smart” thermostat that will warm the house back up gradually and minimize the use of inefficient strip heat.)

• Replace air filters every two to three months or as needed to keep the indoor unit coil clean.

• Reduce the temperature setting on the water heater to 120 degrees or less.

• Install low-flow showerheads in bathrooms.

• Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.

• Minimize use of spare refrigerators and freezers. If not needed, consider recycling through Chelan PUD’s free recycling and rebate program.

You can perform your own energy audit by following this checklist. Learn about professional home energy audits here. Jourdan can be reached at gjourdan@msn.com.

Sprucing up this spring? Think rebates

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting, Recycling on April 16th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintWindows, doors, ductless heat pumps, water heaters, appliances… Don’t buy any of these this spring until you’ve checked out our rebates.

Chelan County PUD has expanded its energy-efficiency programs and now has rebates on:

  • Super-efficient windows (U factor of .22 or lower; usually triple-pane) – $8 per square foot
  • Insulated exterior doors – $40
  • Energy-efficient manufactured homes – $850 (call 509- 661-8008 for info)

    Photo of ad featuring a chicken crossing the road.

    Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Chelan PUD’s energy-saving rebates!

Rebates on ENERGY STAR appliances continue in these amounts:

And don’t forget:

Check out the details for each program using the links above. Or call us at (509) 661-8008.

Warm up to savings at Builders Show

Posted in Appliances, Construction, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting on February 1st, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintCome in from the cold and learn how to keep your home warm and efficient at Building NCW’s  Home Show Feb. 7-9 at Town Toyota Center.

Photo of snowy house

Don’t be left out in the cold — warm up to energy savings at the Chelan PUD booth at the Building NCW Home Show Feb. 7-9.

Whether you’re building, remodeling or buying a new home, Chelan PUD staff can help you choose quality products for long-term savings on electric bills. Stop by our booth and enter our drawing to win a Nest thermostat with installation by Alpine Aire of Wenatchee — a $480 value. See a ductless heat pump on display and learn about our $750 rebate on this super-efficient technology. Pick up a flier listing our rebates on appliances, windows and insulation.  Ask our energy experts your vexing questions about energy use in your home. We’re here – and there at the home show — to help.

This is the 11th year for the builders’ home show, which brings dozens of businesses under one roof offering  remodeling,  construction, design, decorating, landscaping, financing and real estate services.

View the flier, and we’ll see you at the show!

Take a walk on the WestSide

Posted in Construction, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting, Uncategorized on December 9th, 2013 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintInnovative design shines at renovated school

There’s abundant energy coming into WestSide High School these days, and not just from wiry teen-agers.

Light from the sun, known in the building industry as daylighting, is a key feature among several environmentally friendly attributes built into the new alternative school on Ninth Street in Wenatchee.

Photo of WestSide High cafeteria

Light from the outdoors and from energy-stingy LEDs illuminates the WestSide High School cafeteria.

Windows around the perimeter bring ample light into classrooms. Light streams through six traditional skylights, and eight Solatubes – tubular skylights that use polished metal and Plexiglas to capture and diffuse light – outshine the LED lights next to them.

Unique LED lighting decorates the ceilings, from silver-dollar-sized LEDs in inverted-bowl-shaped fixtures to troffer hallway lights that switch off when no one’s around.

Motion and daylight sensors are a key part of the energy-efficiency equation in WestSide High’s construction.

“The classrooms are on occupancy sensors, and there are no wall switches in the halls,” explains Bryan Visscher, director of Facilities and Risk Management for the Wenatchee School District. As daylight increases, lights dim. As sunlight wanes, lights grow brighter.

The school is cutting-edge for the district and for Visscher, who has championed energy efficiency at all 12 schools and helped the district win six EPA Energy Star awards. This time he’s been able to incorporate efficiency measures from the get-go rather than retrofit old systems with new technology.

 

Photo of WestSide computer center

A WestSide student uses the computer center while others are in class. About 250 students are enrolled in the alternative high school, which offers small class sizes and individualized learning.

Ameresco, the environmental services company under contract to instill and install energy efficiency, will measure and verify expected energy savings.The new WestSide uses a variable refrigerant flow system for heating and cooling that reduces energy waste. Lines run throughout the building, allowing heat from a warmer side, for example, to be transferred by refrigerant to a cooler side. Traditionally the warmer air would have been ejected outdoors. The Mitsubishi system uses variable-speed fans and evaporators and sophisticated native controls to reduce energy consumption and improve comfort.

“An overlay of automated logic” runs the HVAC system, Visscher said, which offers opportunities to schedule actions such as shutting off the half of the building that’s not used for night school. It’s also the first building in the district to have electronic access controls for immediate lockdown in case of emergency.

The 18,000-square-foot building was once Wenatchee’s Eagles Lodge. It was gutted to make way for WestSide. The building had been used by Wenatchee Valley College as a music and arts center, then acquired by the school district in a swap that gave the former WestSide building back to the college. Years ago, that building used to be college dormitories.

Students moved in Sept. 1, leaving cramped, concrete-block classrooms behind. They can eat their lunches, prepared in a full-sized commercial kitchen, in a spacious cafeteria now. They can access computers in an electronic library. They can work on projects together in “teaming rooms.” They can go to class in rooms that are mostly windows, not walls.

P.E. classes are still held at the old campus, but an anonymous donor has offered to help build a gym on the school’s north side. In the meantime, the district will begin converting the old Wenatchee Youth Circus storage building, located just west of WestSide, into a fitness building where students can use exercise equipment and free weights.