Community House's future is brighter with recent upgrade

Bay Village Green Team members Pat McGannon, Warren Remein and Brenda O'Reilly replace lightbulbs in the Community House with energy efficient CFLs. Photo by Tara Wendell

On Sept. 24, four members of the Bay Village Green Team gathered to install energy efficient lighting upgrades on the main floor of the historic 132-year-old Community House in Cahoon Park. The Green Team has been conducting its meetings at the Community House for most of its 7-year existence and recently decided to donate the project as a way to thank the city for its support. The project is also a way to show how energy efficiency upgrades can quickly pay for themselves and save money in the long run, even in old structures. 

A total of sixty 13-watt, compact florescent lamps (CFLs) replaced sixty 60-watt incandescent bulbs. That reduced the energy consumption of the lighting from 3,600 watts down to 780 watts without reducing the light output (measured in lumens). In fact, the light output of the new lighting is noticeably brighter. The old incandescent bulbs gave off 780 lumens each and the new CFLs are rated at 900 lumens each. 

Some people associate florescent lights with a blue-color lighting that is not pleasing to the eye. This is not an issue with the lighting chosen for the Community House. The correlated color temperature, rated in Kelvins (K), of the chosen CFLs closely matches that of the incandescent bulbs that they replaced. This makes it very difficult to tell that the bulbs are not the old incandescent. 

The 60 CFLs cost the Green Team $80, but will save many times that during their lifespan. Based on the average usage and current cost of electricity for the facility, the new lighting will save about $145 in energy costs in the first year of operation alone. This more than pays for the cost of the upgrade. 

If rental hours in future years remain the same as this past year, then the new lighting should last more than 15 years before needing to be replaced. Typical incandescent bulbs last around 3,000 hours and the new CFLs should last around 10,000 hours. During the total lifespan of the new lighting, it should save the city $2,197 in utility costs, assuming the utility costs remain the same for the next 15 years. Additional savings will be gained from reduced bulb replacement by city workers. Instead of replacing incandescent bulbs every 4.5 years, they will now only need to change bulbs every 15 years with the new CFLs. If utility rates rise, then even more savings will be realized. 

If you would like to upgrade incandescent lighting in your house to more energy efficient lighting, then consider CFLs or LEDs. Both will save you money in the long run, despite a slightly higher up-front cost. 

If matching the color of your existing incandescent lighting is important to you, then be sure to choose bulbs with a Kelvin rating of 2700K. Because all manufacturers of bulbs are now required to print the Kelvin rating and lumen output on the box, you can easily find this information when shopping. 

When the CFLs eventually die, be sure to recycle them, for free, at your local home improvement store. The CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury and should be recycled to prevent its release into the atmosphere. LEDs, on the other hand, do not contain mercury.

Visit or stop by the Green Team's table at the Bay Cares Fall Fest, Oct. 4, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Bay Library to learn more ways to reduce your energy usage.

Patrick McGannon

Patrick McGannon has been a Bay Village resident for most of the past 33 years, is a board member of the Village Bicycle Cooperative, is a board member of the Bay Village Green Team, and is an avid road cyclist certified in traffic safety skills.

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Volume 6, Issue 20, Posted 9:42 AM, 09.30.2014