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Retrofitting the lighting system in any institutional or commercial facility is challenging for any maintenance and engineering manager.
But the challenge becomes even more daunting when the facility in question is a 1.6-million-square-foot regional medical center that provides round-the-clock service to the entire gamut of patients across several counties. The retrofit of the Georgia Regents Medical Center in Augusta required strong communication between in-house maintenance crews, contractors and the medical staff to ensure work was completed as efficiently as possible without interrupting patient care.
"When you are changing out ballasts and lights, sometimes you have to kill the power," says Jimmy Taylor, the medical center's electrical services manager. "It's hard to do that when you're talking about being in a hospital, and you are going to tell the staff or department that you have to turn off lighting in the area.
"It was very challenging to come up with a timeframe. We needed to get it done, but we had to work around their schedule, which was sometimes tough because things run 24/7. That was one of the toughest challenges, working with the staff, but they worked well with us."
The initial investment for the medical center's lighting retrofit was about $433,000, which represented about 81 percent of the entire project, and the project's annual savings totaled $175,000 a year. The original return on investment was 2.4 years.