This summer a new lighting system was installed at LHS, the $187,000 tab covered by the energy company Eversource. The new LED bulbs that replaced the old Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs), are more energy efficient, and are projected to save the school about $18,000 a year.
“We started this process back in the spring. The School Committee approved it around then also,” says Mr. Tom Mazza, the Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations. Advanced Energy Group (a subcontractor of Eversource) started to install the lighting in the summertime around the beginning of August. The project was able to be wrapped up around the end of September. They worked really hard to get the lighting done before students started coming for in-person classes and were able to get it done the Friday before the first day of hybrid.
This project was funded through an Eversource program LHS has participated in 3 to 4 times before. In this program, Eversource uses the money from the conservation fund to help offset the cost of upgrades to light fixtures so that they are more energy-efficient. The money in the conservation fund comes from a monthly charge that every customer of Eversource has built into their electricity bill. This money is held and controlled by Eversource until they know how to direct it.
Usually, the program requires the consumer, recipient of funds, to have an investment in the project. Historically, Longmeadow would have to pay a portion of the project cost over a period of 2 to 3 years, depending on how large the project was. This was paid for directly through the LHS utility bill with the goal that the savings would offset, or exceed, the monthly investment. “In this last round though we were very fortunate that for the highschool the utility company, Eversource, picked up the entire cost of the investment,” says Mr. Mazza. In this round, Eversource covered the $187,000 cost of the fixtures and bulbs that were installed throughout the building. The installment of the new lights was focused on places where the lights are on for extended periods of time. These places include the hallways and cafeteria.
With LHS being relatively new, the last time Eversource offered the program for the lights there was not a huge benefit due to the technology that was available at that time. “Since then and with the advancement of LED lights and the cost of LED lights coming down they approached us about modifying some of the fixtures at LHS,” says Mr. Mazza. Based on the project, LHS hopes to see a monthly savings of around $1,573 a month. This was the estimated savings projected by Eversource based on the results project. Though that number is dependent upon the cost of kilowatt hour as well as the actual amount of time the lights are on. In the end, the school hopes to have a yearly savings of about $18,000.