Hard numbers put to the topic of new lighting in the school district

By Daniel E. McGonigle

General Manager

The Caledonia Argus

Caledonia Public Schools have been reviewing their options as it relates to their light fixtures.

As their current lighting systems near the end of their useful life, the district is looking at ways to become more energy efficient.

The money would come from the one-time windfall of state monies, in the amount of $495,000.

“We said we wanted to use that money to pay for things that would provide on-going savings for the district,” said superintendent Ben Barton.

So at a special board meeting held on Aug. 2, the board reviewed options as it relates to replacing the lights.

MS/HS options

In a bid submitted by The Retrofit Companies, out of Owatonna, the district was presented with a few different options.

Option one for the MS/HS lighting retrofit, the district was presented with replacing the current lighting.

Current annual lighting costs: $46,548.64

Current KW: 185,448

Proposed annual lighting cost:

$23,429

Proposed KW: 83,624

KW saved: 101,825

Annual energy cost savings: $23,118

• Monthly: $1,926

• Daily: $96.33

Total project cost: $136,760

Estimated rebate: $24,193

Total Net project inv. $112,567

This option would lead to a net reduction of greenhouse gases to the equivalent of taking almost 23 cars (22.7) off the road per year.

Option two would be to replace the current lighting and ballasts with LED lights.

Proposed annual cost: $20,968

Proposed KW: 74,345

Annual Energy cost savings: $25,506

• Monthly: $2,125

• Daily: $106

Total projected cost: $205,516

Estimated rebate: $23,895

Total net project inv.: $181,621

For this option, it would have the same environmental impact as removing 25.3 passenger cars from the road.

All recycling of bulbs, electical work, etc…are reflected in the proposed bid.

Elementary school

The board saw numbers presented to them which reflected the elementary school.

In option one, like at the middle school/high school, the company would replace the current lights with LED lights.

Current annual lighting cost: $21,876

Current KW: 99.545

Proposed annual cost: $10,997

Proposed KW: 50,220

KW saved: 49.326

Annual energy cost savings: $10,878

• Monthly: $906

• Daily: $45

Total project investment: $137,884

Estimated utility rebate: $14,395

Total net project investment: $123,489.

Option two presented to the board would be to replace the lights and the ballasts in the elementary school.

Proposed annual lighting cost: $9315

Proposed KW: 42.533

Annual energy costs savings: $12,561

• Monthly $1,046

• Daily $52

Total project investment: $175,309

Estimated utility rebate: $14,149

Total net project inv.: $161,160

This would be the equivalent of 11.9 passenger cars being taken off of the road.

Board feedback

Board member Jared Barnes said that he was concerned that the district had invested in replacing lights over recent months and years and he worried about replacing them before their life ends.

Barton noted, however, that the district would save money on labor costs by replacing the lights all at once vs. a few at a time.

Currently the district is in the process of hiring a new buildings and grounds director.

The board felt they should wait until that hire is made at which time that person can review this material and weigh in with his or her thoughts.