|Story & photos by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff
Organizations at Fort McCoy that would like to help the installation
save energy are encouraged to volunteer for a light-bulb-reduction
project by contacting the Directorate of Public Works (DPW).
Greg Shattuck checks light levels
in building 2171.
For the past several months, DPW employees have been serving as
guinea pigs to help illustrate that many organizations on post are using
too much lighting and can function just as effectively with fewer light
Michael J. Kelley, chief of the DPW Energy-Utilities Branch, said a
simple way to save energy use and reduce energy outlays is to use fewer
light bulbs, such as removing or disconnecting light bulb(s) from a
multi-lamp fixture, a procedure known as delamping.
The procedure is being offered on a strictly voluntary basis for all
installation organizations connected to the post’s electrical
“In general, office space is over lit, with lighting levels usually
exceeding Illuminating Engineers Society of North America guidelines,”
Kelley said. “We originally asked the DPW director (Darrell Neitzel) if
we could try this with a couple of office spaces. After the initial
results, he gave us the OK to try it throughout the building.”
Greg Shattuck, a DPW energy technician, said the program can be an
important step in helping the installation meet its energy-reduction
goals. Fort McCoy’s goal is to have a 3 percent reduction in yearly
energy usage based on fiscal year 2003 totals, and the installation is
just meeting those goals, he added.
In the program, Shattuck took light-level or foot-candle readings in
each DPW office. Generally, the offices had too much light, he said.
Greg Shattuck (right) checks the
lighting in the office space of Kay White.
“I spoke with each of the building occupants, explained what I was
doing, and showed them the light-level reading in their areas,” Shattuck
said. “I went through the building and disconnected almost 490 bulbs.”
Shattuck said lighting fixtures to be considered for inclusion in the
program must have electronic ballasts and be parallel-wired.
These types of fixtures are made to function adequately with less than
the maximum number of light bulbs without sacrificing overall lighting
coverage, he said.
DPW employees will come to a facility, conduct the light-level tests and
disable or disconnect the unneeded light bulbs. Shattuck said this
serves two purposes.
First, the light bulbs easily can be reconnected if someone decides the
program isn’t working and providing them with enough light. Second, the
light bulbs are available to make it easy to replace them when the older
ones have reached their life-cycle expectancy.
After two-three months in the new system, Shattuck said no one in DPW
has asked to have the additional lighting turned back on.
Lower lighting levels have been known to reduce the number of headaches
or other physical maladies individuals might have.
Kay White, a DPW employee who said she was one of the biggest skeptics
of the program, said she decided to give it a try because she wanted to
help DPW save energy.
“I was concerned with my poor eyesight if I could see as well with the
reduced lighting,” White said. “I decided to try it for a couple a days
and see if there was a difference.”
After going with less lighting for several months, White said she
couldn’t discern any difference.
Neitzel said he approved expanding the program from several offices to
the entire building to help DPW gather enough data to prove the project
is viable and to show DPW’s leadership in the energy-reduction area.
Shattuck said although 30 foot candles is the recommended lighting
level, several DPW offices he inspected had more than three times that
much with readings of 100 to 120 foot candles.
For every light bulb removed, Shattuck said it is a cost savings of
about $7 a year.
Savings also will include the DPW personnel replacing fewer bulbs as the
bulbs reach the end of their life expectancy, he added.
If the measure is incorporated throughout the post, it is estimated it
will save thousands of dollars in energy costs, including about $3,800 a
year in electrical billing in building 2171, he said.
“The best way to save energy is not to use energy in the first place,”
Kelley said. The funding saved will help the Army fulfill its mission
requirements in a time of budget constraints.
Any buildings/organizations that would like to volunteer to participate
in the program are encouraged to call Wendy Whitney at 608-388-6547 to
make an appointment.