Better light, lower cost

BAR HARBOR — There’s still a long way to go, but Mount Desert Island High School has made a good start toward replacing its fluorescent ceiling lights with more energy efficient LEDs.

Facilities Manager Butch Bracy said he has converted about 20 lights to LEDs over the last couple of years to see how they perform. Now, 54 more LEDs have just been installed, and another 18 fluorescent fixtures have been retrofitted for LEDs.

The cost of the new lights was $5,765, but the school is getting a rebate of $4,590 from Efficiency Maine.

“After the rebate, I will have paid just $1,175 for them,” Bracy said. “That’s a pretty good deal. You can’t afford not to do it.”

Efficiency Maine’s mission is “to lower the cost and environmental impacts of energy in Maine.” It is governed by a board of trustees with oversight from the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Bracy said on Monday, when classes were cancelled because of snow, that he was going around the building to get a count for his next order of LED lights.

“I think I’m going to get about 75 more,” he said. “That will just about take care of all the hallways. Then toward summer, I’m going to start tackling the classrooms and see how many of those I can do.”

He said he doesn’t know how many fluorescent lights are in the classrooms and offices, but there might be 300 or more.

Bracy said the LEDs provide better lighting: “Boy, they look great.”

And over time, he expects them to save the school, and by extension taxpayers, quit a bit of money.

“All of my old lights ran on 64 watts, with two bulbs at 32 watts apiece. The new ones are 26 watts. So, they’re using less than half the electricity.”

The high school’s budget for electricity this year is $110,000. Not all of that is for lighting, of course. But Bracy said switching to LEDs, which the school already has done for its exterior building lights, is a wise investment.

“It’s the wave of the future as far as saving energy and giving a lot better light.”


Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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