Energy Efficiency Project Generates Savings and Better Lighting at Mount Saint Joseph

(Baltimore, MD. February 20, 2015) – An energy efficiency project at Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore is about to cut the school’s electricity use for lighting by more than 50% while also improving the quality of lighting in classrooms, laboratories and other sites on campus.

“We have been on these grounds since 1876,” George Andrews, President and Chief Executive officer of Mount Saint Joseph, said. “We operate in a series of different buildings, built in 1962, ’82, ’90 and 2004. I noticed those buildings have a variety of lighting fixtures, some older, and I thought surely there would be a potential to save money and possibly improve the lighting as well.”

The school contracted Plano-Coudon Construction’s Energy Solutions Division to develop and implement a lighting retrofit plan.

Plano-Coudon conducted an inventory and analysis of the school’s lighting fixtures, lamp types, wattages, ballasts and locations. The company assessed foot-candle levels in all spaces and color temperatures of the lighting in each. It analyzed usage patterns in all indoor and outdoor spaces, learned about lighting problems, compared options for new lights and controls, calculated project expense and payback periods, and identified available incentives.

Ultimately, that analysis produced a multi-faceted plan to improve energy efficiency while also improving lighting quality, said Michael Parrish, director of the company’s Energy Solutions Division.

In many locations, upgrades to LED fixtures can cut energy consumption by as much as 75 percent while also providing improved lighting for students, faculty and staff. In rooms of the school, crews have been able to “de-lamp,” reducing the number of lamps by half, yet maintaining or improving illumination levels. Improved use of daylighting, installation of occupancy sensors and other lighting controls, making use of existing reflective surfaces to enhance light, and implementing bi-level lighting to reduce lighting in off-hours will create more efficiency. Some lighting upgrades are also enhancing campus security.

“Yes, we were doing an energy efficiency audit, but at the same time we were thinking about how the new light source could help improve occupant comfort and improve visual acuity,” Parrish said. “We documented color temperatures and worked to create the best level and temperature of light for an educational environment. We want to help the school to realize savings on its utility bill from this capital improvement but we also wanted occupants of the school to realize a positive difference.”

Lighting upgrades, which are being completed in overnight shifts, have generated pleasant surprises for students and employees of the school, Andrews said. “We have had people walk into science labs and say, ‘Wow, it’s brighter. It looks great in here.’ They have noticed that the cafeteria looks better or the dark spot in their classroom is gone or the glare of lights on computer screens has been eliminated. There is a nice, warmer, brighter feel to the school and that makes people feel good,” Andrews said.

“This whole process has been fascinating,” Andrews added. “It was fascinating to plug in various numbers and options and see how we could save money on lighting. The new technology is less cumbersome for us so we will also save money on maintenance.  The cost saving ensures that we are making the best use of school dollars and being responsible stewards of the money. And people are happy with the new lighting, so it has created a win for everybody.”

Release courtesy Shan-té Johnson, Plano-Coudon Construction

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