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By Steve Schuster, Associate Editor
Lighting Article Use Policy
The results of the project include a bottom-line benefit, as well as one performance challenge that has offered a lesson for future lighting upgrades.
The lighting retrofit will save the county an estimated 475,000 kilowatt-hours of energy — about $55,000 in cost savings annually, Hiniker says, adding that the project cost $115,000 for contractor expenses, but county officials received a $22,000 utility rebate to offset upfront project costs.
Detailed planning and good communication was an integral part of the process, according to Walker and Hiniker.
"Part of the planning process included notification of the staff in the building of what were doing and why," Walker says.
Walker and Hiniker say the upgrade has performed as intended, with one unexpected impact on the lighting system.
"After installation, many of the older ballasts started to fail, which could be a result of the newer lamps being installed," Hiniker says. "This created additional work for the staff by increasing the number of ballasts typically being replaced in a month. Generally, the older ballasts are at the end of their life and were in need of being replaced."
Though the project want smoothly for the most part, the ballast issue offered a lesson for the future.
"Lessons learned are usually gained from problems that were overcome, and really, there weren't that many," Walker says. "I think we're comfortable with the intent."
Hiniker says managers should consider replacing the ballasts at the same time as they replace the lamps if the ballasts are nearing the end of their life and the project budget allows. In Hennepin County's case, Hiniker says, their budget did not allow for both.
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Lighting Retrofit's Ballast Issue Offers Lesson for County
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