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Buncombe County Schools (BCS), Asheville, NC, has a long history of commitment to energy conservation, dating back to the early 1990s with the inception of an energy policy and implementation of heating and cooling standards. The Countywide LED Initiative is by far the largest project undertaken by the Maintenance Department, which houses the energy management program.


The Director of Maintenance, Clark Wyatt, originally realized the potential for energy savings and cost avoidance by retrofitting to LED, but the plan finally came into fruition in the summer of 2016 when capital funding and staff were made available to complete installation in four facilities. During this time the newly hired Energy Manager, Alesha Reardon, created a budget for implementing the project across the district and started to investigate potential funding avenues.

The scope of the Countywide LED Initiative includes 42 facilities, ranging in age from 1920 (Oakley Elementary School) to 2017 (Enka Intermediate School). All facilities are schools except for Administrative Services, Maintenance office and warehouse, and Transportation. In total, over 50,000 fixtures will be retrofitted from T8 to LED. In addition to retrofitting all troffers (2x2, 1x4, 2x4, 4x4) Buncombe County Schools is also retrofitting all other fluorescent lamps to LED. In the end, there will no longer be any fluorescent lighting in Buncombe County School facilities. 

At the beginning of the project, BCS was using two different lumen packages based on IES lighting standards for hallways, and classrooms or offices. Hallways were using a 24W (3115 lumen) package, while classrooms and offices were using a 32W (4030 lumen) package. After installation of LEDs in several schools, BCS found that most spaces were over lit by 15-20 foot candles. Coupled with the perception that LEDs are brighter than fluorescent lights, BCS wanted to make sure we were getting as close to the target of 40 foot candles for classrooms and offices as possible. In an effort to bring light levels down, but also streamline the installation process, BCS decided to use a 'middle ground' lumen package for all spaces--hallways, classrooms, and offices. A 26W (3304 lumen) package is now used in schools, we are meeting our target of 40 foot candles in classrooms, and the feedback from teachers and administration has been very positive. In the end, they are saving even more energy than originally planned as most of the lights would have been 32W but are now 26W. 


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