An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Lighting: It’s more than you think

  • Published
  • 43rd Civil Engineer Squadron
In 1878, Thomas Edison commercialized the incandescent light bulb and forever changed the American way of life. Since then, progress in lighting technology has created a twentyfold energy reduction in lights. Inventors strived for improvement from the commercialization of fluorescent tubes in the 1940's to practical development of Light Emitting Diodes in 2003.

Such jumps in lighting technology have made changing light bulbs one of the quickest ways to bring down utility bills. For instance, a compact florescent bulb uses 80 percent less energy than an incandescent counterpart but only costs a dollar more per bulb. That means a typical American home can save $100 per year by using compact florescent light bulbs. Adding even more value to a minute investment, compact florescent lights rarely fail and only require replacement every three to five years.

Transition from incandescent lights to other forms of lighting has increased ten-fold since the beginning of the decade. Last September, the European Union formally banned incandescent lights. So far Europe uses less than 5 percent of their electricity on lighting while lighting consumes 8 percent of all electrical energy in the United States. With such changes in the European Union, it is foreseeable the U.S. will follow similar lighting policies in the near future.

Pope is doing its part to reduce energy. Since September, the Carolina Inn has been retrofitting their facilities with 3,500 compact florescent lights. Kenneth Reid, Carolina Inn Superintendent, has been overseeing the change out operation. As guests check out, Mr. Reid's maintenance crews retrofit the rooms with various compact florescent lights to meet lighting requirements of each room.

"These CFLs are great technologies for us" said Mr. Reid. "The long life of the bulbs will reduce the work load for my crews down the road."

The Project caught the eye of 1st Lt. Kyle Bergren, 43rd Civil Engineer Squadron Base Energy Manager, when lodging personnel made the suggestion last February.

"It's amazing that a $8,900 investment in light bulbs cuts energy costs by $27,000 per year," said Lieutenant Bergren. "Their example makes us realize the extent of the dated lighting infrastructure on base."

Currently, the 43rd CES has been investigating ways of eliminating inefficient lighting across base. The 43rd CES announced hangar and bay lighting are likely to be the next candidates for lighting retrofits.