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New lighting to save money, maintenance for rec center

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By Ben Wiebesiek

FORT LUPTON — The Fort Lupton Recreation Center has new lighting for the new year which is projected to save the facility thousands of dollars each year.

Fort Lupton Parks and Recreation Director Monty Schuman said the project was a coordinated effort between the city and United Power.

 

“Basically, we had done an energy audit with United Power’s help in the fall of 2012, and went through the building, we did the Rec. Center, City Hall and the Museum as well, we went through looking for way to cut back and be more efficient,” Schuman said. “There was some rebates out there at that time, so we wanted to work with united power so that whatever we did would be in compliance with the rebate. so after we did that, they came back with a couple of areas we could address, most notably, we had a lot of 1000-watt halogen bulbs that were lighting our pool area and our gym area, and we had a number of smaller halogens around the facility as well.” 

At that point, Schuman said the Recreation Center contacted electrical vendors that United Power had worked with and were used to working with them, 

“So they knew what the criteria was for the rebates,” Schuman said. “And we brought in three of the contractors, and they did walk-throughs and gave us cost estimates at all the different facilities. Some of the facilities had a lot of areas we could improve on; some weren’t too bad to begin with.”

Schuman said the next step was to take the estimates before council last winter to get approval for the retrofitting project.

“We presented to them, and said ‘here’s where we’re at, and this is what we think can be done,” Schuman said. “It was not budgeted at the time, so we needed to get approval for it.”

In presenting the estimates, Schuman said that there were two numbers to keep in mind.

“There was an initial cost, but there was also a very quick turnaround for some of the areas to recover the cost of doing the project,” Schuman said. “As an example, the Rec. Center had an estimate of 12 months.”

For energy efficiency improvements, estimates project the amount of time it will take for the savings to equal the project cost, and a 12-month turnaround is a quick period of time to recover those savings, Schuman said.

Recreation Center staff collected data for four months to create the estimates.

“We estimated we saved just under $7,000 — about $6,800 dollars — on our electrical bill,” Schuman said. “You know, if you extended that for a year, it will be just over $20,000 that we will be saving this year.”

The project cost for the Recreation Center portion of the improvements was approximately $34,000 dollars, but a $12,000 rebate helped cut that amount down.

“So we ended up with around $23,000 so we should have that paid back in just over a year,” Schuman said. “And after that it’s basically considered savings. So if you translate that out to a 10-year period, that’s a pretty substantial amount of money — a quarter million dollars probably in savings.”

The new lighting will keep the areas just as lit as it was previously, which is measured in lumens.

“Part of the rebate process was that the lumens had to be equivalent or better,” Schuman said.

For the smaller buildings in the Parks and Recreation department, the savings were also smaller.

“For the museum, that was one of the lower rebates deals, and it would have taken longer to recover the cost,” Schuman said. “They had a number of fluorescents — they’re called T10s — that are no longer being made. The Feds have come in and said you can no longer make those. So we took the opportunity with the rebate to change them out now. They weren’t going to be much more efficient, but we figured it was still better to do it now because we weren’t going to be able to get bulbs.”

The project also updated the lighting outside of city hall, but Schuman said the interior already was fairly efficient in term of lighting.

“So there wasn’t a lot done internally,” Schuman said. “But all along the outside of City Hall, and even the parking lot there — you know anytime you can take a 1,000-watt halogen and can replace it for a third, you’re going to save a lot of money over time.”