Army expects to save millions by switching to LEDs
January 24, 2009
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — A plan to change the way Camp Humphreys lights its offices, streets and homes is expected to save the Army millions of dollars in yearly energy costs, officials said.
The garrison’s annual electric bill now runs about $5.5 million, garrison spokesman Robert H. McElroy said Thursday.
But the post is undergoing an expansion that will triple its size in coming years. After that, a fully expanded Humphreys using low-energy lighting would save about $10 million yearly, said Lowell Travis, chief of the engineering division at the garrison’s public works department.
"We will save a whole bunch of money," he said.
The switch will be from the fluorescent and other lights now used throughout the installation to newer light-emitting diode lighting, Travis said.
LEDs are used in such things as cell phone displays, flashlights and traffic signals.
Currently, nearly all of the post’s lighting is fluorescent, but other types are used, too — including incandescent, metal halide and high-pressure sodium.
LEDs offer the garrison several advantages over fluorescent and incandescent lights, he said.
One is that they burn less energy per hour, he said.
For example, Travis explained, an incandescent bulb burns 100 watts per hour, a fluorescent 32 watts per hour, and an LED 10 watts per hour.
"Every hour, you consume X amount of watts per light, and you multiply that by how many lights there are in a building and multiply those buildings throughout the installation, it begins to add up," he said.
LEDs also can last far longer, Travis said.
Incandescent bulbs last 1,000 hours, fluorescents 5,000 and LEDs 50,000 hours, with some varieties reaching 100,000 hours — equivalent to "having your lights on all night long for 22 years," he said.
The relatively new LEDs cost well above the other types, but those prices will likely drop as they become more common, he said.
A four-bulb fluorescent kit with accessories for installation in an office building can cost about $150, for example, Travis said.
A comparable LED kit might cost $400, he said.
"LED right now is new technology," he said.
And because LEDs don’t emit carbons or contain mercury, they are "very environmentally friendly," Travis said.