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OC’s sustainability plan moves forward with lighting retrofit

Olympic College is leading the way for other community colleges to set up long-range sustainability plans.

On Aug. 10, the school continued its trend toward becoming a sustainable entity by announcing a contract awarded to Light Doctor LLC. for a complete lighting upgrade and retrofit at all three campuses in Bremerton, Poulsbo and Shelton.

When the project is complete, OC’s power consumption will drop by more than 813,000 kilowatt hours per year, reducing the school’s carbon emission by 544 tons, according to Senior Lighting Consultant Shane Petitt.

“That’s the equivalent of 47,000 gallons of gas or taking 31 cars off the road for a year,” Petitt said.

Puget Sound Energy, the area’s largest electric and gas provider, is awarding the school a $226,000 rebate, more than half the expected cost of the project. Plus, the school predicts a savings of nearly $5,000 per month in electricity costs on the three campuses.

Light Doctor also has done retrofits for other schools and districts, including the Central Kitsap School District, which received approximately $350,000 in rebate money for its project.

The project at Olympic includes, among many things, the replacement of current HID lights in parking lots with more efficient fluorescent bulbs.

“The lights in the parking lots now are 250-watt high-pressure sodium lamps,” said Don Nielsen, chairman of Light Doctor. “We will replace them with bulbs that output more light, but only use 117 watts of electricity.”

The plan also will replace current 32-watt LED lights with smaller 28-watt bulbs, T-12 fluorescent bulbs with more efficient T-8s and even make use of one of the newest technologies in the lighting industry, T-5 bulbs, according to Petitt.

“In addition to the energy savings, new lighting has been proven to improve staff productivity, enhance security and create better working and learning environments,” Nielsen said. “The lighting upgrade will also benefit the aesthetics of the campuses.”

Quantum Engineering, under contract with the Washington State Department of General Administration’s energy program to develop and implement energy savings projects for OC, will work with Light Doctor crews to implement the changes.

“Our company is very pleased to have the opportunity to work with Quantum Engineering and the Olympic College staff to help improve the environment and reduce operating costs,” Nielsen said.

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