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  Illuminating LEDs

Published: September 22. 2013 4:00AM PST
Written by: By Rachael Rees / The Bulletin 

Bend dealership sees savings after installing light-emitting diode lighting

  When the owners of Subaru of Bend remodeled the dealership on U.S. Highway 20 in Bend, they decided to install LED lighting to make the dealership more energy efficient and cut costs. 

And while the switch to LED lighting for the car lot resulted in a $47,000 bill, co-owners Matt and Bill Thomas expect a quick return on their investment through electricity and maintenance savings.

“We feel we can pay off the balance within two to two and a half years in savings," he said, adding the Energy Trust of Oregon gave the dealership back $17,000 for the project, a cash incentive for converting the lighting to LED.
“It may even be quicker than that if we factor in the replacement of the old lights as they burned out."

Auto dealerships require plenty of bright lights to show off vehicles, and some keep them on long into the night for security — which adds up.
Subaru of Bend has joined what Automotive News called a small but growing number of car dealers switching to LED lights, which may cost more up front, but provide savings down the road.

New light-emitting diode technology can reduce parking lot energy costs by 40 percent, according to the U.S. Energy Department. LED lighting lasts longer than traditional lights, turns on instantly, works well with dimmers and motion sensors and operates in cold temperatures.
It has also become more popular for businesses, especially those with high electric bills, said Gary Dale of C&G Electric of Bend, who installed the new lighting for Subaru of Bend.

Dale has been working in the lighting industry since 1978 and said it has “changed phenomenally."

“Edison invented the bulb, but we've been learning about it ever since," he said.
Dale said his LED conversions have increased 50 percent this year over 2012. And the majority have been for businesses or commercial property owners looking to sell or rent out their buildings.
“People are looking at the bottom line, so they're really looking at the operating cost," he said.

When shopping for commercial buildings, Dale said potential tenants are about 80 percent more likely to rent a property if it is energy efficient.
“It's like buying a car. Do you buy one that gets 12 miles to the gallon or one that gets 30 to 40?" he said.

Dale said he switched out more than 20 1,000-watt high intensity discharge lights for 300-watt LEDs in the Subaru parking lot, providing double the light for two-thirds less energy. He said the old bulbs each had a 5,000-hour life span, and the new LEDs are rated for 100,000 hours.

By installing LED light in the parking lot, the Subaru dealership decreased its electric bill by about $400 per month, Matt Thomas said. Savings for the new LED lighting in the service building haven't been calculated yet, he said.

“If we don't save 25 to 30 percent then we're not going to certify for the Subaru (green) certification," he said. “But we didn't do it to be green certified, we did it because it's the right thing to do."

 

Source: — Reporter: 541-617-7818, [email protected]

 


Gary Dale, of Bend-based C&G Electric, adjusts a car-lot light at Subaru of Bend on U.S. Highway 20. By switching the car lot high intensity discharge lights to LEDs, he said he's helping the car dealership reduce its energy costs.
Rob Kerr / The Bulletin

     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  

 C & G ELECTRIC
65310 Swalley Rd, Bend, OR 97701
Phone: (541) 383-2523
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