Clarke County projects thousands in energy savings this next year.

Clarke County Courthouse is getting an upgrade, on that will save the county an estimated $5,663 a year and a total savings of just under $109,000 in reduced costs over the next 19 years. But, don’t look for major changes in how the building looks, because all they did was changed their light bulbs.

clarke county iowa saved money by changing lightbulbsBuilt in 1956, Clarke County Courthouse sits in the center of the business district of Osceola, Iowa and is home to 15 different government offices. When County Supervisors Marvin McCann, Bill Black and Laurence (Larry) Keller learned how something as simple as switching the fluorescent lights they were currently using to LED lights could save the taxpayers that much money, all they had to say was “it just made sense.” Clarke County worked with SimplEnergy Solutions, based in nearby Bethany, Mo., who first presented them with a plan for the savings.

Ryan Eddis, SimplEnergy’s sales manager, inspected the courthouse and prepared an ROI (return on investment) report pointing out one simple thing the county could do to save money and reduce their energy consumption significantly. All they had to do was switch out the lights they were using, 564 fluorescent lights (a combination of T8 and T12 fluorescent tube lights) and the ballasts needed to make them run, with 316 22W LED lights.

To make the decision even easier, Alliant Energy, the energy provider for Clarke County, offered additional incentives through their energy rebate program, in the end giving Clarke County a rebate of 37 percent on the total cost of replacement.

For Clarke County employees, the advantage of using LEDs isn’t just energy cost savings. LEDs last much longer than traditional fluorescent lights, and in Clarke County’s case, the LED lights used have a life expectancy of 19 years, compared to less than a year for the fluorescent lights they replaced.

That means county maintenance workers will spend much less time replacing lights in hard to reach office ceilings.
Workers and visitors to the county building can also expect better, clearer light in offices and meeting rooms with no more of the flickering and hum associated with aging fluorescent lights.

Many of the replaced lights still work, so they will be recycled for use in the two other buildings Clarke County owns, the secondary roads and DHS buildings, as their existing lights wear out.


Originally published by The Osceola Sentinel, Published: Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 10:52 a.m. CDT