Switch to better lighting = savings

by Susan Gillin | Feb 25, 2016

Photo of a car at Cascade Auto Center

Assistant General Manager Mel Birmingham

The lights are always on at Cascade Auto Center, but they’ll be using a lot less energy and causing less glare.

The car dealership has upgraded to LED lighting in its newly acquired north lot and plans to do the same for the lots that hold its Subarus and Chevrolets, too. The dealership stretches over eight acres along Easy Street in Wenatchee.

Chelan PUD incentives are helping make the upgrade affordable. The cost for Cascade’s first project – replacing the overly bright, outdated lighting at the former Honda lot now owned by Cascade –  dropped from $29,117 to just $7,279.

The PUD’s Light$mart program offers incentives of 18 cents per annual kilowatt hour saved, up to 75 percent of the cost to purchase and install energy efficient lighting and controls. At Cascade, the incentive covered 75 percent, amounting to $21,838.

The first thing owner Steve Baldock asked when he bought the old Honda lot next to Cascade Auto Center was to get rid of the old, ugly “curlicue” lights, said Mel Birmingham, assistant general manager. Down came 62 metal halide lamps on 21 poles, replaced by just 10 LED lamps on 10 poles. Flood and canopy lights also were replaced by energy-saving LEDs.

LED lighting offers significant energy savings, reduced light pollution and truer light which can improve safety and security.

Security is the main reason car dealerships leave their lights on all night, Birmingham said. A side benefit is showcasing those shiny new autos which can lead to sales.

Baldock said he first took advantage of PUD incentives at his home, using PUD residential rebates when he upgraded windows and a heat pump. Extending energy efficiency to his business was a natural fit, he said. He noted that Subaru is an environmental leader among carmakers, with all waste recycled or reused. Baldock said he’s asked his son Jordan, who recently joined the business, to help develop a recycling program.

Baldock added that he wants to be a good neighbor, and switching to LED lights that are appropriately placed, shining light only where needed and not up in the sky, reduces the impact on nearby homes.

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