Upgrade to yield 5-figure savings annually
By Scott Bellile
Lincoln Elementary School will save approximately $16,000 per year once it upgrades to energy-efficient LED lighting.
The New London School Board approved the $59,778 upgrade project on Feb. 11. The project will begin by March.
The school district will see payback on the project in less than four years, according to a project analysis prepared by Jeremy Bellile, owner of BNH Lighting, the Hortonville company that designed the plans for this project.
BNH Lighting also designed lighting upgrades that occurred this past year at New London High School and New London Intermediate/Middle School.
The school district is already expected to save a combined $77,000 per year in energy costs from those two previous upgrade projects.
Annual cost savings resulting from the three schools consuming less electricity will be directed toward funding more energy-efficiency projects throughout the school district.
Last fall, students in NLHS’s Technology Student Association conducted lighting audits at the district’s buildings that have not yet upgraded to LED, under the direction of teachers Tami Thorne and Melissa Porath.
The students counted the number of light fixtures in each room, assessed the types of light bulbs and fixtures, and measured the lights’ foot-candles, according to Joe Marquardt, School District of New London business services director. After this process, the district selected Lincoln as the next school to upgrade.
The five NLHS students who Marquardt recognized for guiding the project are Myles Parker, Jordyn Vanevenhoven, Bryar Tuchscherer, Kaden Reybrock and the late Grant Madsen.
Grant Madsen, 17, died in a car crash on U.S. Highway 45 in the town of Lebanon on Feb. 10.
Knowing Grant Madsen was involved in Lincoln’s LED lighting project before his death, this project “will mean a lot to me,” Marquardt told the school board.
Grant Madsen followed in the footsteps of his sister Ellie Madsen, who coordinated the lighting upgrade at NLHS for her DECA project last school year. She is now a freshman at Brown University where she is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.
Marquardt said the students who completed the study for the Lincoln lighting upgrade determined that a Lincoln classroom is illuminated at, on average, an intensity of 100 foot-candles per room.
“A hundred foot-candles is more than double what is needed in a classroom for industry recommendations at this time,” Marquardt said. “That doesn’t mean that the building was poorly designed when it was built, that’s just recommendations have changed with lighting over the years.”
The district’s electricity bills will drop through reducing the foot-candles and number of light fixtures per classroom, Marquardt said.
“We feel like we are going down the correct path to have lighting in the classroom that helps with the over-lit classrooms,” Marquardt said. “And even though research is varied on that … it does show an impact when you do decrease the light in the classroom that students have had fewer headaches. I think there are fewer distractions.”
Lincoln will also receive a roof replacement this summer.