County to install energy-saving lights in most of its buildings $154,000 a year in savings expected

June 14, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

If everything goes as planned, it won't matter how many county workers it takes to change a light bulb because they'll be changing them a lot less often.

In an attempt to save on electrical bills, the county will install energy-efficient lighting in most county government buildings over the next five years.

County officials expect to save $154,000 annually in electric bills by participating in the Green Lights program, which is sponsored by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

"We're talking about a lot of dollar savings in addition to benefiting the environment," said Mike Kelly, an administrative services officer with the county's Department of General Services.

The environment will benefit because reducing the demand for electricity reduces the need for additional generators, Mr. Kelly said.

Participants in the Green Lights program agree to replace all major lighting fixtures in public buildings with energy-efficient lighting.

The Miller Library in Ellicott City is the first building scheduled for conversion to energy-efficient lighting.

Mr. Kelly said he expects the work to begin in about a month.

Once the new lighting is installed, the county will save an estimated $590 a month on the library's energy bill.

All told, the county spends $1,242,790 annually on electric bills. And lighting typically accounts for 40 percent of an electric bill in an office, Mr. Kelly said.

As part of the program, Baltimore Gas and Electric will offer cash rebates to help the county pay the $15,000 cost of the new lighting. While such programs will mean smaller electric bills, BG&E hopes less demand will reduce the need for new power plants.

Over the next five years, energy-efficient lighting will be installed in the Florence Bain Senior Center, the George Howard, Carroll and Ligon buildings, the Central Library, the animal control facility, the Bureau of Utilities, the Southeast Multi-Purpose Center, the courthouses, the police department and all fire stations.

Green Lights is a voluntary pollution-reduction project, started by the EPA in 1991 in response to concerns about global warming, acid rain and smog.

Howard County is the third Maryland county to sign up for the program, joining Baltimore and Prince George's counties.

Maryland and California were the first two states in the nation to join the program, EPA officials said.

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