Cool new (LED) lights adding to hot savings in D-1

When Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb more than a century ago, he changed the world forever. But these days, there’s a new kid in town, ready and willing to save you energy and help you keep a few bucks in your pocket. His name? LED.

Avista Corporation, the largest supplier of energy in the Inland Northwest, including northern Idaho, has been offering incentives to residents and businesses that switch from incandescent light bulbs to the new LED units. District 1 began participating in the rebate program about a year ago, and has seen the savings increase as more LED units come on line.

Traffic signals are prime candidates for the switch-out. At larger intersections, there can be 20 lights operating at any given time. Each 165-watt light bulb is being changed to an LED unit, with 10 to 20 watts, depending on color. That would be 3,300 watts of incandescent lamps compared to only 400 watts of LED units, adding up to about an 85 percent savings in power.

The LED units last longer and use far less energy than the old light bulbs. And the cost savings are beginning to add up. District 1 has received nearly $15,000 in rebates from Avista, and that number is expected to rise over the coming year.

The district also has taken advantage of rebates being offered for converting lighting fixtures in buildings, collecting nearly $2,000 in rebates from Avista.

Thomas Edison would be very impressed.

Photo: Roy Clark, Senior Utility Craftsman, installs a new LED unit in a traffic signal in Sandpoint.

Published 5-20-2011