AUGUSTA — Students returning to Augusta Elementary may notice the cafeteria got new lights over the summer.  According to Al Foster, Director of Maintenance for Hampshire County Schools, the cafeteria and the largest classroom (a kindergarten room) were retrofitted with brand new LED bulbs.

“Forty-four new lights were installed across the 2 largest rooms,” said Foster and adding that they had “replaced old T8 and T12 linear fluorescent tubes.”

Foster explained the measure of success is “to see if there is a noticeable impact in the school’s electric bill like we’ve seen other places.” Foster continued, “Parks and Rec and the Board of Education replaced lights in the old Capon Bridge Junior High Gym and there was a drastic savings on the electric bill.”

“The cost of the work was $2200” said Foster, “and the hope is that the savings will add up over time and prove to be something worthy of implementation at all the schools.” Foster elaborated, “There are of course other costs to consider that add to the electric bill such as heating and cooling the school.”

LED bulbs emit a color similar but not identical to neutral daylight. However, unlike most fluorescent lights, LEDs need a warm-up period to render full brightness. On average the typical fluorescent (CFL) bulb producing the same amount of light will last around 8,000 hours whereas a comparable LED bulb typically lasts around 25,000 hours.

Work has been completed on the project and going forward the Board of Education will determine if replacing bulbs throughout the school system will be a cost saver after careful review of the results at Augusta. o

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