A bright idea - Switch to LED lights=big savings

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Moser Pharmacy, Elkader, recently transitioned to LED lights, which will result in an annual energy savings of nearly $10,000.

By Pam Reinig

Register Editor

Moser Pharmacy in downtown Elkader is one of only a few local businesses that has taken a shine to LED lighting—though others are sure to follow when they hear Jay and Kay Moser’s story.

Last summer, the Mosers replaced all of the fixtures and bulbs in the building they own on the corner of Main and Cedar Streets. The structure, which houses Jay’s pharmacy and Elkader Floral, has long used traditional fluorescent lighting. An informational session on LED lighting, hosted last spring by the Clayton County Conservation District, convinced the Mosers that it was time to move to a more energy efficient, cost effective system. The transition was made over a 10-day period in November.

“We spent some time discussing whether to go with new fixtures and LED lights or just the lights,” said Jay. “We decided it didn’t make sense to put new bulbs in old fixtures so we did both.”

The result is a brighter store for the Mosers and their tenant, Janis Lerch, owner of Elkader Floral.

“It’s made a huge difference,” said Lerch. “The colors just pop and the environment overall seems more vibrant. I love the way my merchandise looks.  Everything is just so much more colorful and upbeat.”

LEDs or light emitting diodes last longer and are significantly more efficient than incandescent bulbs, which is the product most commonly used in homes, offices and businesses. They also have several advantages over fluorescent lights: They don’t need a warm-up time to come to full brightness and their lifespan is not impacted by frequent on and off switching, which is a problem with fluorescent lights. In general, LEDs last 75 times longer than their fluorescent counterparts.

The energy efficiency of LEDs means substantial savings for consumers like the Mosers. Their project, which involved 186 light fixtures and bulbs, cost just under $24,500. They received rebates of nearly $15,400. The projected savings on their electrical bill is more than $10,000 annually, which means the project will pay for itself in less than 11 months. Lerch, who pays the electric bill for her shop, has already seen an impact.

“My latest electric bill was $65 less than the previous month—and that was just for a partial month,” she said.

“Best of all, the company that did the work did all of the work on the rebates,” Jay said. “It really was a pretty painless process for us. The only issue we’ve encountered is that the light in some places is so bright the registers can’t read the bar codes on our merchandise. But that’s been an easy fix.”

The Clayton County Energy District helped facilitate the project by checking on the status of the work both with Moser’s and Wulfekuhle Electric, who was awarded the job. Joleen Jansen, CCED Program Manager, hopes the Mosers’ experience will serve as motivation to other businesses.

“The Energy District is hoping that projects like this will have a domino effect on Main Streets throughout the county,” she said.

For more information on LED lighting and other energy conservation efforts, contact the Clayton County Energy District at 563-880-7915 or use the contact form on their website: claytoncounty.energydistrict.org.

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