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Maryland Chapter Gets an Energy Upgrade
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by Richard Reis | 2011

By Richard Reis, PE—The Maryland Sierra Club reduced its energy footprint by upgrading its office’s 12 light fixtures, using vacancy-sensing switches, and replacing the window blinds to moderate daylight. In the past, the fixtures used four 40-watt, T-12 lamps. By rebuilding each fixture to hold fewer but more efficient lamps, by cleaning the lenses, and by installing new reflectors behind the lamps, the Maryland Sierra Club chapter office has more light and more reliable fixtures while lowering energy use.

Maryland Chapter Gets an Energy Upgrade

   

  By Richard Reis, PE—The Maryland Sierra Club reduced its energy footprint by upgrading its office’s 12 light fixtures, using vacancy-sensing switches, and replacing the window blinds to moderate daylight. In the past, the fixtures used four 40-watt, T-12 lamps. By rebuilding each fixture to hold fewer but more efficient lamps, by cleaning the lenses, and by installing new reflectors behind the lamps, the Maryland Sierra Club chapter office has more light and more reliable fixtures while lowering energy use. Here are the data:

 

     

Ballast

Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relative

 

Watts

Lamps

Watts

Watts

Number

Hours

Days

Hours

Annual

 

 

Energy

 

 / lamp

 / fixture

/ fixture

 / fixture

Fixtures

 / day

 / year

 / year

kWh

Cost

# CO2

Use

Past

40

4

10

170

12

9

255

2295

4682

$702

6414

100%

Renewed

32

2

2

66

12

6

255

1530

1212

$182

1660

26%

Savings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3470

$521

4754

74%

 

Notes:

1.  The new switches turn off lights when they sense vacancy, reducing daily hours of operation.

2.  Costs are based upon energy costs of 15¢ per kWh.

3.  1.37 pounds of CO2 / kWh, per Department of Energy, Energy Information Agency, April 2002

Material Costs

 

Quantity

Cost

Extended

New Ballasts

12

$26

$312

New Lamps

24

$3

$72

New Reflectors

12

$10

$120

New Switches

4

$50

$200

Material Costs

 

 

$704

 

On April 23, volunteers Steve Skolnik (a licensed electrician), Olayinka (Yinka) Kolawole, and I completed the work in about a half a day.

I disposed of the old lamps (containing mercury) and the old ballasts (many containing PCBs) responsibly at the county transfer station.    

We received an incentive from Pepco under the 2008 EmPower Maryland Act:

 

 

Quantity

Incentive

Extended

Convert from 4, T12 tubes to 2, T8 tubes

12

$40

$480

Install occupancy sensor wall switches

4

$25

$100

Total

 

 

$580


            

 Our net cost with skilled volunteer labor was just $124 ($704-$580).

Importantly, this Maryland Sierra Club project shows that there are cost-effective ways to save energy and reduce one’s environmental footprint. Imagine if this were done to all offices around the state.

What can be done at your place of work?       

Rich Reis is a member of the Maryland Chapter excom and the Energy Committee. 

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