Sonoma County Airport Achieves Sky-High Savings With Global Energy & Lighting Retrofit

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Reduced energy costs through efficiency also improve safety and security

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Retrofits related to lighting systems can have significant impact on other, potentially more costly infrastructure upgrades such as boilers and ventilation equipment owing to the reduction in cooling loads provided by more efficient fixtures

The nearly 3,000 airports overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration are some of the largest and most visible public energy users in the country. Like any business, they are always looking for ways to reduce energy consumption and maintenance expenses. One of the fastest, most efficient ways to do this is with a lighting retrofit, and Sonoma County Airport, of Santa Rosa, California, has capitalized on just such an investment.

Energy is often the second largest operating expense for airports, following personnel costs. As a result, pressure to reduce operational costs rides heavily on airport operations managers, who in turn are constantly on the lookout for advancements in energy technology that might help increase efficiency, such as new energy efficient lighting.

In 2010 the National Academies Press released the ACRP Synthesis 21: Airport Energy Efficiency and Cost Reduction, a planning strategy for the increased energy efficiency of airports. It repeatedly mentions lighting retrofits as an excellent opportunity to save on utility costs. The report states, “Retrofits related to lighting systems can have a significant impact on other, potentially more costly, infrastructure upgrades such as boilers and ventilation equipment owing to the reduction in cooling loads provided by more efficient fixtures.” By commissioning a lighting retrofit, not only does the airport benefit from energy savings, but also potentially reduces expenditures across the entire utility infrastructure.

Ross Colley, program manager at The Energy Alliance Association, is familiar with these reductions and has partnered with Global Energy & Lighting to retrofit the Sonoma County Airport with Global’s ceramic metal-halide kits. The CeramaTek family was chosen primarily for its performance profile in energy savings, longevity, and the direct enhancement of security and safety. CeramaTek offers excellent color rendering, which enhances security camera clarity and pedestrian/employee safety, as well as improving light quality around the facility. CeramaTek is also a turnkey solution, allowing for streamlined installation, which reduces project costs by removing the need to purchase new fixtures.

Dick Kauth, owner of LCD Services (the electrical company responsible for installing the retrofit), mentioned in an interview, “The airport is really happy with the new lighting. Things look much better around there now, and everyone is very pleased with the outcome.” When asked what makes CeramaTek stand out from the viewpoint of an electrician, he responded, “The socket adapter included in the retrofit kit makes everything very easy to install. Other products don’t come with that adaptor, which often times means we end up having to work on the fixture itself to make things fit. This sometimes compromises the weatherproofing of the fixture. That wasn’t an issue with the CeramaTek kits.”

With the retrofit complete, Sonoma County Airport saved nearly 70% on annual energy costs, with a 3.1-year return on their investment. The efficiency of the retrofit lowered their annual energy consumption by 105,231kWh, giving their energy grid some relief and allowing them to spread out energy draws more evenly for increased efficiency. As the county airport enjoyed huge energy savings and improved safety and security, other businesses began to take notice. Since Sonoma County Airport completed their retrofit, a number of other companies and municipalities in the area have purchased, or are considering, CeramaTek products with hopes of achieving similar energy efficiency amidst rising energy costs and progressive green initiatives.

About GE&L
Global Energy & Lighting manufactures and distributes cost-effective, energy-efficient commercial lighting solutions. The executive team is headquartered in Eagle, Idaho, R&D in San Jose, and international sales offices located in Eastern and Western Asia.

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Grant Stephens
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since: 10/2013
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