Case Study: LED Retrofit

A popular local Bethesda sports bar has been a longterm Bethesda Systems client. The lighting throughout the bar was outdated and costly from a replacement and maintenance perspective. Management grew tired of changing light bulbs and their increasing energy bills.

The bulbs they used before the retrofi t constantly burned out. The bar went through 10–15 bulbs per week, and their lights were on for at least 14 hours per day. The owners grappled with the growing expenses and time devoted to constantly restock the bulbs, as well as continually climbing ladders throughout the entire bar several times per week in order to replace the lights.

On their older system, half of their lights would not dim due to overheating issues on the circuit. For example, over one of their bars, the dimmer switchers did not work properly, and bulbs would go off at random.

Bar Co-Owner said, “We’ve been told these bulbs last much longer. During the summer, this is huge for us because there is much less heat produced from the lighting. Bethesda Systems also added dimmers, making it simple for universal settings and usage all over the bar.”

The retrofit was an easy decision when we presented them with an upgrade yielding energy savings, reduced maintenance, better quality light and general information behind the benefits of going LED from incandescent or halogen bulbs. With not only an LED retrofi t completed, but an update to their automated control system for lights and HVAC, this sports bar became eligible for PEPCO utility rebates. Management now deals with less maintenance, a greener business, and lower energy costs.

Gary Hefner, Project Leader, Bethesda Systems said, “Some lights weren’t on due to circuit overload from excessive wattage. Bulbs were exploding, and the bar was paying a fortune to PEPCO. After the retrofi t, there was a major heating difference since no more halogen or incandescent bulbs were being used, allowing the bar to no longer run their air-conditioning as hard, thus allowing them to save additional energy.”

Lighting Retrofit Downloadable PDF

Energy Monitoring and Management Systems

Energy savings can only occur when you receive quality information about your consumption AND you are provided with practical, everyday applications and gear to do something about your usage. The first step is to implement an Energy Monitoring System. (FIG. 1-5) Energy happens to be one of the only things we buy that we don’t know the cost of until after we use it — and have no idea what we used it for. There are several monitoring systems on the market these days. Since you can’t manage what you don’t measure, we lean towards the systems that gather data at the circuit level rather than overall consumption. These systems let you know the cost to operate detailed areas inside your home over time.

Dimming Makes a Difference

For few of us, the information provided by these systems is enough to help curb consumption—knowing you just spent $85 over the last 30 days on your basement lighting makes you think twice when you reach the top of the steps, and you remember to shut off the lights. (FIG. 6) But for most of us, we need a little more help. So in addition to the Monitoring System, we provide networked devices and applications to help you control your various systems or just flat-out automate them for you.

The second step is having a simple and convenient way to control lighting, shades and climate settings. We do this using Smartphones, Website Applications, TV screens & Tablets. The ability to control from outside the home is also crucial. Automating these systems with sensors will maximize your use of daylight or turn your lights off when a room is not in use or even regulate indoor air quality to feel more comfortable while reducing the demands on your HVAC system. Lighting accounts for 20% of all electricity consumed in the U.S., and 50% of that is wasted with inefficient light sources or in unoccupied rooms. Additional savings can be realized by controlling the amount of wattage used by light bulbs. Furthermore, installing  dimming devices conserves electricity and also extends  the life of your light bulbs.
The Monitoring System will also point out ‘vampire’ power wasters — the devices that suck down power even when they are perceived to be turned off. Using cloud-based power controllers we can schedule conservation periods at the device level that will cut the power entirely and eliminate waste altogether.

In addition to lowering your electric bills, implementing an Energy Management System can also extend the life of your appliances. Continuous diagnostics helps avoid thousands of dollars in wasted energy and costly repairs by providing notice of hidden problems. Energy Management can help keep your family safe. Automated email and text alerts can notify you when appliances are left on, if circuits are nearing capacity, or if critical home equipment goes off.

Lastly, an integrated energy monitoring and management system that gives you clear feedback and automated control over various loads in the home qualifies for 2 LEED points.

 

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