New LED fixtures light the way

  • Published
  • By Lea Johnson
  • 21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
For close to two years, almost half of the street lights and parking lot lights on Peterson AFB have been disabled in an effort to cut energy costs. This past summer, the lights started coming back on in anticipation of new light-emitting diode fixtures being purchased.

According to Jim Jacobsen, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron energy manager, in late 2007 Air Force Space Command put together a cross-functional team to conduct market research, identify requirements, and develop specifications and an implementation strategy. The team's goal was to reduce energy and reduce maintenance while matching or improving existing illumination and visibility.

In 2008, Peterson became one of two preliminary testing sites for a variety of LED and other high-efficiency lighting fixtures along roadways and in parking lots, to replace existing high-intensity discharge lights.

A variety of fixtures were installed at multiple locations for a little more than a year and according to Jacobsen, they performed well.

"They conducted tests and evaluations of many different models, to see what the pattern was like, to see what the white light quality was and how long they lasted," Jacobsen said.

They performed so well, in fact, that Air Force Space Command approved a command-wide purchase and the installation of the LED lights.

The pilot project results proved that energy could be saved and maintenance reduced allowing all the lights on Peterson AFB to be turned back on. With the study complete and support from the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, AFSPC initiated a command-wide program to replace all the fixtures. Included in the procurement is the U.S. Air Force Academy and 14 other locations.

Fox Theriault, AFSPC energy analyst and LED project manager, said a bulk purchase of about 6,400 LED fixtures for 15 installations will be made using $6.4 million of Energy Focus Funds from the AFCEC.

Across AFSPC, and including the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., savings from the lights will be $388,000 annually with an additional $618,000 annually in operations and maintenance costs, Theriault said.

"Testing, market research, and industry clearly indicate that this emerging technology is ready for full implementation with enormous payback," he said.

According to Theriault, LED fixtures typically have a 60,000 to 80,000 hour life expectancy, which is three to four times the life expectancy of the old high-intensity discharge style fixtures. The new fixtures will use approximately 60 percent less electricity than HID lights but one of the greatest savings will be in the reduced maintenance. The new LED fixtures are virtually maintenance free and come with a 10-year warranty.

The 21st Space Wing is installing a total of 1,540 fixtures at six installations, costing approximately $152,000. Across the wing, total energy cost savings is expected to be $162,000 with additional savings in operation and maintenance of $140,000 a year.

Upfront, the cost of the LED lights is more expensive, but within three or four years, the lights will have paid for themselves.

According to Jacobsen, once the lights are installed, they will all be illuminated to ensure proper function of the lights and replacements will be made where necessary.

"Once all of the lights have been (tested) and any required warranty replacements have been completed we will again look at de-lamping opportunities to garner additional savings," he said.

In mid-September, a contract was awarded to Utility Systems Solutions, Inc; an 8a small business set aside company, who partnered with Philips Hadco to provide all the fixtures. US2 and Hadco engineers are currently conducting site visits validating the requirements before shipping the fixtures to each installation. Bases are also finalizing the install contracts or some are planning to do in-house replacement. Hadco plans to start shipping fixtures in mid December and installation of the LED lights will start shortly after they arrive at the bases.

The process should take three to four months to complete.