Is it just another replacement light bulb?
Not to Marc Faber, Doug Gallup, and the 3,800 students, faculty, and staff of the Byron Center Public Schools in suburban Grand Rapids, Mich.
Welcome to a revolution by light tube. This otherwise ordinary-looking 48-inch long bulb has transformed how Byron Center Public Schools (BCPS) uses electricity. Thanks to it, the school district has slashed annual electricity usage by more than 1.4 million kilowatt-hours.
“About a year ago I was looking at our expenditures,” explains the school district’s chief financial officer, Marc Faber. “I said to our facilities manager, ‘I’m budgeting way too much on electricity for the high school.’ Electricity use there is way, way down. What’s going on?”
The “what’s going on” is explained by technological marvel called the Daylight Linear LED Tube Light Bulb, produced by TOGGLED, a Michigan-based LED bulb maker. Starting with the high school and now continuing across the district’s eight other educational and administrative buildings, BCPS district services coordinator Doug Gallup and his facility team have replaced about 6,000 standard fluorescent bulbs with new TOGGLED LED light tubes.
Water Evaporation, Too?
The new lights startled everyone. BCPS leadership loves the speedy payback. The facilities team loves the easy LED retrofit, no-maintenance convenience, shatterproof-design, and extreme bulb life. Students and teachers love the flicker- and buzz-free operation and “wow factor” light quality.
Trent Raab, the Pro Desk manager for the nearby Home Depot store, worked closely with Gallup to put the initiative in motion. The project grew out of a high school aquatic center LED conversion project. The aquatic center’s new LED lights delivered many expected benefits and one big unexpected one: cooler-running LEDs reduce water evaporation and with it, costly pool maintenance.
That got Gallup to thinking. What could LED lighting mean for classrooms and hallways? Just about that time, TOGGLED’s LED linear tube lighting was introduced to Home Depot. Connecting Gallup with TOGGLED and also money-saving rebates from the local utility, Consumers Energy, was a natural for Raab. One by one, the pieces fell into place.
TOGGLED was delighted to play a role. TOGGLED’s senior director, Dave Simon, understands the special vision required by the BCPS leadership team to authorize a general lighting upgrade. “Not every CFO is a Marc Faber,” Simon observes. “Marc knows this is more than an MRO [maintenance, repair, and operations] project. It’s such an obvious winner for them.”
Faber credits the team. “We view our vendors as partners. TOGGLED, The Home Depot, and Consumers Energy are all looking out for us. With them on our side, it’s a triple win for our kids,” observes Faber.
For Gallup and Faber, the conversation always comes back to the children. “My kids went through here,” reveals Gallup. “Now my grandkids are here. We’re trying to leave a legacy of what’s possible. What can we do to make a really good school a great school?”
Faber understands that motivation and encourages it. “Yes, Trent and his team greet Doug by his first name when he enters The Home Depot,” the CFO laughs. Who knows when the next big savings idea has arrived?