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LEDs Remain Popular Option for Savings


LED street light

As maintenance and engineering managers continue their efforts to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities, they often turn to upgrade projects to key systems and, in particular, lighting systems.

Consider the case of Decatur, Ill., which will spend $2 million this year to retrofit outdoor lighting with energy-efficient LED bulbs. Savings from the project are expected to be recouped within 13 years, according to the Herald & Review.

Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc. is guaranteeing $2.5 million in savings over the 20 years. The work also will change lighting in the Decatur Civic Center and Decatur Public Library, as well as add a new HVAC system to the library.

"If we make these improvements now, we will save money on electricity to realize savings and fund how we pay for this," says interim Billy Tyus, the city manager.

Tyus said the ultimate funding source will come from the guaranteed annual savings of the city's energy bill, but council members will vote soon on one of two options: an interdepartmental loan or a private bank loan to go ahead on the project.

The agreement with Johnson Controls is not the city's first time working with the firm. In 2014, the company conducted work that led to a $17 million water meter replacement project by the city. Bruce Combs, an associate at Johnson Controls, says annual reviews of the improvements have found that savings on water costs so far have exceeded initial estimates.

This Quick Read was submitted by Ryan Berlin, managing editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

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