LED lights illuminate savings in Bethel

Converting schools to LED lighting will save energy and money

Spanaway Lake High School, Photo Credit: Hunter Haegele

“Parking lot lighting is a monster at Spanaway Lake.”

That’s according to Energy Manager Michael Rushton, and it’s one reason SLHS has made the list of schools that will receive LED upgrades this school year.

Spanaway Lake is an anomaly in the district, with more than 60 light poles in the parking lot alone. Rushton said the district will begin replacing the 250 watt bulbs with 100 watt LEDs.

SLHS isn’t the only school that will get lighting upgrades this year:

  • Frederickson Elementary — interior and exterior lights
  • Graham-Kapowsin High School — interior lights
  • Liberty Middle School — interior and exterior lights
  • Operations Support Center — interior lights
  • Pierce County Skills Center — exterior lights
  • Pioneer Valley Elementary — interior lights
  • Spanaway Lake High School — interior and exterior lights
  • Spanaway Middle School — interior lights
Students at Spanaway Elementary School were the first in the district to have all LED lighting.

Spanaway Elementary School was the first school in our district to make the change to LED lighting. It was such a big change that representatives from the U.S. Department of Education recently visited the school as part of their Green Strides Tour to see the impact for themselves.

Interior lighting

Older florescent lights tend to flicker as they age. “When they flicker, it creates problems for students and educators,” said Rushton. “We really don’t want building issues to become a distraction for the education process.”

LED lights are going to eliminate that problem.

Exterior lighting

The exterior lighting projects will not only replace the old bulbs, but will add motion sensors that will help save money. “There will be 70% less light, which is beneficial to our neighbors, and is also good for nocturnal animal life,” said Rushton.

The Cost

To make the conversion to LED, Rushton has applied for incentives from the district’s utility vendors. “We receive incentives because it’s cheaper for our utility vendors to conserve energy than it is for them to buy energy.”

Once the money is received, Bethel electricians take care of the rest.

The Savings

Rushton said the most savings is achieved by not having to purchase and replace florescent bulbs every three years. The new LEDs can last up to 20 years, but he is anticipating a 10-year minimum. The energy savings will be specific to each school, but will average around $25,000 in savings per building every three years.

Because it’s beneficial to conservation and lowering maintenance costs, the goal is to make the change to LED in all Bethel schools in the future.

Helping kids learn is the driving force behind all we do in the Bethel School District.

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