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LED lighting helps civic center reduce energy consumption

Officials from the Charleston Civic Center chose to upgrade their system to LED lights because their old fixtures consumed too much energy. According to The Charleston Gazette, the center's electricity bill was $69,000 in July 2012 due to its massively inefficient lights. The exorbitant utility expenses forced Jim Smith, an assistant manager at the center, to seek budget-friendly alternatives. 

Smith and his team ultimately decided the LED tube lights were the best solutions. In total, the center replaced more than 1,400 fluorescent fixtures during the retrofit. Smith has been pleased with the results of the conversion. 

"The savings on it is tremendous as far as energy consumption. It's awesome," Smith said. 

Center officials were motivated to upgrade to LED lighting when they joined the Appalachian Power's (APCO's) Commercial and Industrial Prescriptive Program. The initiative offers financial incentives to encourage commercial facilities to use eco-friendly tools and improve energy efficiency. The news source reports that since the center joined the program in 2011, it has saved enough energy to power 24 homes for a year. 

Visitors have noticed a massive improvement thanks to the tube lights. The fluorescent fixtures didn't provide adequate illumination, but now the entire center is well-lit. 

"They see the change that we're brighter and they can go into the meeting rooms and they're not dim now," Smith said. 

Jim Fawcett, APCO's manager of energy efficiency and consumer programs, said that he hopes Charleston residents note the difference in lighting quality in the civic center because LED fixtures are better and cheaper than the alternatives. According to ENERGY STAR, the energy-efficient options can help the average household reduce its electricity bills by $600 per year. Additionally, the lights last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, so the cost of replacements can be dramatically cut.