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Many of the 402 fluorescent light fixtures throughout Acorn Public Library District in Oak Forest needed to be replaced, and library officials knew that the required maintenance costs would be considerable, both in dollars and staff time. Library Director Zach Musil and Business Manager Karen Miner recognized that upgrading to energy-efficient LEDs made sense because they are cost-effective and provide brighter and truer lighting that is better for reading. The only question was whether the library could afford a full-scale replacement project.
In January 2018, energy engineers determined that new energy-efficient T-8 LED lighting and targeted fixture removal would provide optimal savings for the library. Incentives worth $19,194 provided by the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program made the project possible. “We’re a midsize library, and we don’t have a huge property tax base. Without the ComEd incentive, the LED upgrades would have had to be done in phases, as each fixture died,” Miner said. “Getting it all done in one fell swoop means that our maintenance staff now can focus on other tasks instead of changing out ballasts, and we can start saving some money in terms of our electric bill.”
The Acorn Public Library District took advantage of the ComEd public small facilities offering, available to public sector customers with a demand less than 100 kW. The public small facilities offering delivers enhanced lighting incentives—often covering 50 percent or more of project costs. Additionally, contractors share the upfront project costs as part of the offering. After conducting research and consulting with their attorney, the Acorn Public Library District Board chose not to hold an open bid for this project, which reduced administrative time and made the project even more cost-effective. The project was completed by April, just four months after library officials first contacted ComEd.
Acorn expects to save $5,107 annually from reduced energy use, on top of the ComEd incentives the library received. Besides the fiscal benefits, the library frequently receives positive feedback from guests and staff about the improved aesthetics. “There had been a different temperature of lighting in different areas of the building, making some spaces appear very jaundiced.” Musil said. “Now, all of the lighting is very consistent. Aesthetically, it looks so much better.”
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