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LPEA to host lighting workshop in Pagosa Springs

As part of its Free Information Series designed to help members “save their energy,” La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) will host “It’s All About Lights,” Thursday, July 12, 6 to 7 p.m. at the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, 811 San Juan St.

Anyone interested in learning about lighting efficiency is invited to attend. The recently announced $10 LED light bulb rebate will also be discussed.

“In our previously-held lighting workshops, we have directed our presentations more toward 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 should be of interest to business owners and our residential customers as well. That’s why we’re holding this in the evening, to make the information more available to our members who work during the day.”

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 kilowatts. Company officials note, however, that there is much more to be done.

“This workshop is designed for laypeople who want to understand the options for (and benefits to) changing out energy-guzzling lights at their homes and businesses for more efficient models,” said Ray Pierotti, LPEA project specialist. “Of course, professional electricians and lighting designers are also welcome to attend.”

LPEA and its energy-provider Tri-State Generation and Transmission continue to offer rebates on commercial 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, noting that LPEA has just introduced a $10 rebate for each Energy Star® LED bulb purchased. “We want to help our members learn what is available and take advantage of the opportunity to save money and energy.”

Because refreshments will be served, those interested in attending are asked to R.S.V.P. to Pierotti, rpierotti@lpea.coop, or 382-7770.

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