SCHOOL DISTRICT REAPS HUGE SAVINGS & IMPROVES GYM LIGHTING
The William S Hart Union School District is located in the Santa Clarita Valley in the northern part of Los Angeles County. Roughly 35 miles north of Los Angeles, the district serves seventh through 12th grades and deeply affects the lives of nearly 23,000 students. The district includes sixteen schools and two specialty education programs. The Hart Union District includes six high schools including four that were named California Distinguished Schools over the last several years. It also includes six junior high schools , including one designated as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and another was named a California Model Continuation School. The Hart School District Academic Performance Index score and fitness scores consistently rank in the top tier of districts of its size within the State of California.
There is a significant shortage of gymnasiums in the Santa Clarita Valley, and the gymnasiums at the schools within the Hart School District are under very heavy pressure from both school sports activities, and community sports activities. This heavy load placed on the school gymnasiums within the district resulted in the gyms being used from early morning to late night virtually every day of the year. Worse, because the gyms were outfitted with metal-halide bulbs for their gym lighting, the lights were frequently left on 24 hours a day. Metal-Halide bulbs have long warm-up times, and it was more practical to run the lights in an empty gym than to bring in school personnel to turn the lights on a half hour early in the morning. The result was exceptionally high electricity costs because of the long operating hours. And, because of the very high usage, lots of bulb replacements- causing lighting outages, and high maintenance costs.
In 2013, three of the school gymnasiums (used heavily for basketball, volleyball, and gym sports of all kinds) in the district were slated for renovation. New flooring and new paint were planned, but this was the ideal time to explore more energy-efficient gym lighting. Lighting Efficiency & Design worked with the district to test the use of a new LED fixture for gymnasiums in the Valencia High School gym. The test was constructed to get direct experience about the quality of the light, the light coverage, the operating costs, and other aesthetic aspects of using this new gymnasium fixture. The test was a huge success.
As a result of the successful test, the district decided to reconfigure all three gymnasiums with custom, high-efficiency, high light output, LED fixtures. The metal-halide light fixtures being replaced each drew 460 watts per fixture including the ballast. The new LED gymnasium lighting fixtures over the playing areas only drew 200 watts, and the LED fixtures installed over the bleachers drew only 100 watts. That translated to a 60-75% savings on power draw per hour, and because there was no need now to operate the bulbs around the clock, an additional 30% savings on top of that. In all, the Valencia High School, Hart High School, and Placerita Junior High School gymnasiums were converted to LED.
Many people would think that using lower wattage LEDs (compared to the metal-halide bulbs) would also result in lower lighting levels. In fact, just the opposite was true. The advantage of energy-efficient lights like the LED fixtures used in these gymnasiums, is that they convert virtually all of the electricity drawn by the fixture into light, whereas metal-halide bulbs lose 70% to 80% of the electric power delivered to them, by generating heat instead of light. The 200 watt LED fixtures used over the basketball and volleyball courts in these renovations, actually delivered higher lighting levels, and better lighting uniformity’s than the 460 watt metal-halide fixtures they replaced. Also, the color temperature (the “warmness”) of the LED lighting was much more pleasing, delivering a more daylight-like experience than the illumination from the original metal-halide bulbs. There also was no flickering or buzzing as is typical with metal halide lighting.
One hitch did develop during the course of three renovation product projects. Some of the LED fixtures that were delivered had technical problems. These sorts of things happen especially when using brand-new designs and technologies. A driver circuitry problem caused some of the LED bulbs to burn out shortly after installation. Thankfully the hand-selected, high quality manufacturers that Lighting Efficiency & Design represents, along with the expertise of the LED experts, guaranteed that the district received immediate and no cost replacements for those fixtures made with the original problematic design.
Now the district can count on reliable, terrific quality, long-lived, energy efficient gym lighting for many many years to come. In the end, the Hart district saved nearly 75% of its lighting bill and got a very rapid payback on their investment. It’s new lighting fixtures are rugged (funny things happen in gyms), attractive, and will operate years before any bulb changes are needed. School administrators, athletes, and parents are thrilled. What could be better for school district than that?
“Dealing with a professional company, providing a high tech, efficient solution designed to meet the needs of our District is what LED, Inc. is to the core. I truly feel that the way… (LED Inc)… handled all the situations presented before you has been beyond reproach.”
– Carle Manely – Director of Maintenance and Operations, William S Hart school District