Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the September/October 2015 issue of Business Energy magazine.
At the Moorpark Unified School District in Moorpark, CA, Gary Ventsam, director of maintenance and facilities, was weighing energy savings options. The choice came down to installing solar or doing a lighting retrofit with LEDs. At one point, there had been some concerns over LED brightness, clarity, and different colors, he points out.
“Most of them when you saw them were blue,” says Ventsam. “Now they’ve come out with the soft white, daylight, and all of the different lighting configurations for color.”
Not only that, but Ventsam saw how LED life cycle, maintenance, and energy savings had matured over the years. He met with solar company representatives who could not match the potential savings from the LED lighting.
Turning to Titan LED, he began the task five years ago of retrofitting the district’s 10 schools, starting with outside lighting. He then turned his efforts to the indoor gymnasiums by changing out the 450-W metal halide lighting with 100- to 168-W LEDs. “They were phenomenal,” he says. “The savings we got on that was unbelievable.”
To determine energy savings, Ventsam had used a wattage meter in a classroom where he had changed out the T-8 lighting to LED. “We had a 70% savings with the LEDs for the first year,” he says.
The energy savings had not shown up on the Southern California Edison bill, however, due to tiered rates, Ventsam says. “It’s hard to justify when they start changing tiers, but I know we are doing our part by going green. It’s hard to see, but I know by looking at my meters where the savings are.”
Despite being in the thick of the Great Recession, which necessitated pay cuts and furlough days in the school district, Ventsam and his team were able to initiate the lighting retrofit through a bond that voters passed.