The Clinton School District is currently in the process of upgrading its existing lighting to LED fixtures. The upgrade, encompassing every light fixture within the school system, is projected to both improve quality of lighting while significantly lowering costs, Clinton Public School Superintendent Andrew Vining said.

Vining explained that the lighting upgrade was at the expense of a $350 thousand loan. The upshot, however, was that the savings in cost is expected to more than meet the debt service. The lighting is guaranteed to save $53 thousand per year just in the lower cost of operation of the LED bulbs, he said. Projections, however, show it could approach double that amount.

The lights in the ceiling of his office were an example of this. Pointing to them, which had just been upgraded to the LED system, Vining explained how in the past a given fixture in his office’s ceiling held four bulb for a total of 142 watts. The LED bulbs, however, were two bulbs drawing 44 watts. Coupled with this was the higher quality of light – the LED bulbs are noticeably brighter, and without the yellow tint of conventional bulbs, plus the LED lights do not have the requirement for a ballast in the lighting fixture, used with the fluorescent lights being replaced.

Additional savings come from the operating environment. In the past, conventional bulbs had a “remember to turn off the lights” component, the new system includes an auto-on, auto-off function, with “on” when movement is detected, and off-after-20-minutes function after no movement is detected. Add to this the lower labor costs as the bulbs burn longer, with a 10 year guarantee service life, with less need for hands-on maintenance.

Finally, some of the older light fixtures include those using eight-foot long bulbs, which are getting harder to find. Plus in the case of those bulbs, they are exposed, not behind a grate like the more contemporary indoor lighting.