The LED fixtures are 50percent more efficient than the T-5 fluorescent models that are being replaced and generate the same level of illumination. The older fixtures also contain mercury and must be carefully disposed off to avoid accidental release of the hazardous material. In addition, each fixture has an occupancy sensor that will shut off if no one is in the area. A total of 1,000 fixtures are being upgraded with the LED technology and are expected to last 10 years with little or no maintenance. The local power company is subsidizing 50percent of the replacement cost. At yearend 2012, the replacement project was 20percent complete.
Once all the LED fixtures are in place, Sargent will see its lighting costs reduced by 100,000 USD annually. The normal payback time for this project would be four years, but thanks to the utility company incentive, the payback time will be cut in half to two years. Performance wise, the LED lights emit a slight bluish tint compared to the yellow of the T-5 fluorescent models, but employees have reported no difference in working conditions.