CSM’s Light Fixture Replacements Garner Big Returns

CSM Staff with SMECO Staff

College Receives $133,000 from SMECO Business Solutions Program

The College of Southern Maryland received a $133,000 rebate from Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative’s (SMECO’s) Business Solutions program Dec. 6. CSM earned the incentive by completing retrofit lighting projects in nine different buildings at the La Plata, Leonardtown and Prince Frederick campuses.

“The SMECO Business Solutions program is awesome,” said Tony Jernigan, CSM vice president of finance. “It allows the college to acquire more efficient equipment than would normally be acquired with existing resources. Additionally, the more efficient equipment has a long-term financial impact as the more efficient equipment effects substantial savings on operating expenses over the equipment’s life. These savings positively impact students as the college operates more efficiently and therefore can impact the cost to run the college and, ultimately, help to minimize tuition costs.” Jernigan estimated an annual energy savings of $40,000 for the college.

Before the retrofit project, CSM’s existing lighting fixtures were three-lamp, 32-watt T-8 fluorescent tubes. Each fixture was replaced by a 42-watt LED fixture. Nearly 2,300 fixtures were replaced. Annual energy savings for the college are expected to total 318,958 kilowatt-hours. In addition, the LED tubes that will be used in the new fixtures “are going to last at least 60,000 hours,” said Senior Associate Nick Lourinia of ICF International, which administers and delivers SMECO’s EmPOWER Maryland programs, including the Business Solutions program, for SMECO. In contrast, the lights for the old fixtures only lasted between 10,000 and 15,000 hours, Lourinia said.

College administrators are pleased with the rebate and the retrofitting project’s projected savings. “It really makes a difference,” said CSM President Dr. Bradley Gottfried, crediting Ron Toward, CSM executive director of physical plant, with advocating that the college participate in the program.

“This rebate program sets the tone to be able to install LED lighting and reduce the labor hours needed to replace bulbs and save over 80 percent energy on lighting costs,” Toward said. “This also gives good, clean, lighted areas for safety and [lighting that is] better for your eyes when sitting at a computer.”

Weighing costs and financial benefits and quality of lighting, however, were not the only considerations that led CSM to participate in the retrofit lighting program. It’s part of a broader goal, a sustainability initiative, Gottfried said. “The college is committed to energy conservation.”

“The college considers the environmental impact of all its purchases, and [SMECO’s] Business Solutions program allows the college to acquire equipment that is more efficient and less damaging to our environment,” Jernigan said. “We are very grateful to SMECO for allowing CSM to participate in this program.”

The cooperative’s EmPOWER Maryland programs provide incentives for commercial and residential customers to save energy and money by installing energy-efficient appliances, constructing energy-efficient new homes, improving the energy-efficiency of existing homes and businesses, and purchasing energy-efficient lighting.

In addition to the Business Solutions program, SMECO operates the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program for existing homes, the ENERGY STAR New Home program, the Lighting program, the Appliance program and more. Over the eight years of the EmPOWER Maryland programs’ existence, approximately $7 million in rebates and incentives have been awarded SMECO customers. For more about SMECO’s savings programs, see https://smeco.coop/save-energy-and-money.

CSM was recently presented the 2016 Leadership Award by the Maryland Green Registry for outstanding contributions to environmentally responsible and sustainable business practices. For information on CSM’s environmental sustainability initiatives, visit http://www.csmd.edu/about/environmental-sustainability/index.html.