Library brightens up

“Bright Lights, Big City,” someone once said, as if you couldn’t have one without the other.

Kitsap Library’s main branch on Sylvan now has the bright lights. Maybe the big city will come later.

The county’s library system is spending $71,237 on new, energy-efficient lights to save taxpayers nearly $10,000 per year in electric bills. Seventy-one grand is a lot, but with a grant from Puget Sound Energy paying half, and with savings in electricity paying for the whole system in about seven or eight years, taxpayers will save big in the long run, said Ellen Newberg, director, Kitsap Regional Library.

“If you can make something better and reduce costs ... well, that’s what it’s all about,” said Newberg.

Not only are the lights more efficient, they also burn brighter and in a spectrum closer to natural light. This is much easier on the eyes, she said, and a stark contrast to the facility’s reputation as being cave-like.

“I didn’t know they were putting in new lights,” said library patron Blue. (Just “Blue,” he said.) “But it does make it easier to read.” The man was enjoying the library’s new Magazine Center near the entrance.

No one had looked up at the lights. Customers were just struck by how much easier it was to read things.

“Hadn’t noticed (the lights), but it does look pretty nice in here now,” said Dick Weaver of Bremerton.

“It’s great,” said Candy Clemmons of East Bremerton. “I’m not here during the day very often,” she said, by way of explaining why she hadn’t noticed the lights at first. She was there with sons Tyler, 4, and Seth, 11 months, to pick up magazines to help pick a name for her sister’s new baby.

The library replaced 1970s high-pressure sodium lights with new high-output T-5 lights. An independent audit showed the library’s energy costs would be reduced more than 25 percent — or $9,988.21 per year.

The new lights generate less heat, giving the air conditioning a break.

“The new lights are like night and day,” said Leif Arps, the library system’s facilities and maintenance manager.

The job started Monday, Feb. 2, and is ongoing, though expected to be finished by today.

The job involves replacing fluorescent light rods with the new light rods, and installing above-the-rafters lights, pointed up, to bounce off the ceiling as defuse “indirect lighting.” Amtech Lighting Services of Auburn is installing the system.

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