• Lunch and Lights for laypeople workshop set for June 7


    LPEA to help business owners, residents understand energy efficient lighting

    As part of its Free Information Series designed to help members “save their energy,” La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) will host “Lunch & Lights – for laypeople,” Thursday, June 7, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the cooperative’s multi-purpose room, 45 Stewart St. (Bodo Industrial Park), Durango. Business owners as well as residential customers interested in learning about lighting efficiency are invited to attend.

    “In our previous lighting workshops, we have focused primarily on commercial customers and professionals in the field,” said Mark Schwantes, LPEA manager of corporate services, noting that education and activities related to efficient lighting are strongly supported by the LPEA board of directors. “Lighting efficiency is something that can be of benefit to everybody. Do you have a barn, a garage, a basement with inefficient lighting? Come to the workshop.”

    For the past two years LPEA has performed an increasing number of energy assessments in commercial operations throughout its service territory and helped local businesses complete lighting retrofits (many utilizing local electrical contractors and suppliers), reducing energy usage by more than 500 kW. Company officials note, however, that there is much more to be done.

    “Lighting accounts for 25-35 percent of a business’ energy usage. This workshop is designed for laypeople who want to understand the options for (and benefits to) changing out energy-guzzling lights at their businesses for more efficient models, and that could apply to their homes as well,” said Ray Pierotti, LPEA project specialist. “Professional electricians and lighting designers are also welcome to join us, of course.”

    LPEA and its energy-provider Tri-State Generation and Transmission continue to offer rebates on lighting retrofits to help mitigate the cost. A rebate of $250 per each kilowatt of lighting load reduced at any given facility is offered, up to $20,000 total.

    “It is to Tri-State’s benefit to encourage energy efficiency,” said Schwantes. “With the increased use of electronic devices, people are consuming more and more electricity. Whenever we can reduce consumption, we help Tri-State postpone construction of new electricity generation facilities – which are quite expensive, and eventually reflected in our power bills.”

    Additionally, according to Pierotti, many commercial operations have T-12 fluorescents as the overhead lighting, and T-12 bulbs are no longer manufactured, thus they must eventually shift to the smaller T-5 and T-8 bulbs. The T-5 and T-8 bulbs operate with electronic ballasts, as opposed to a magnetic ballast, and are 27 to 35 percent more energy efficient than T-12s.

     “Plus, LED lighting technology is evolving rapidly,” said Pierotti. “We want to help our members learn what is available and take advantage of the opportunity to save money and energy. Because of the support of our board of directors, we can offer these workshops free of charge.”

    Because lunch will be served, those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to Pierotti, rpierotti@lpea.coop or 970.382.7770.

    LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, provides to its more than 30,000 members with in excess of 42,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible. For additional information, visit www.lpea.coop.

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