Seattle City Light is one of 12 utilities working with the Bonneville Power Administration to give consumers a chance to compare light-emitting diode (LED) technology to traditional lighting in real-life settings, such as a coffee shop, a retail store and even a popular whale museum.
Throughout the project, a portion of a participating business’ traditional lighting will be replaced with LEDs to see how employees and customers feel about the change. The Seattle businesses testing the lights are Chaco Canyon Café in the University District and Bargreen Ellingson restaurant supply in SODO.
Customers are invited to fill out survey cards at both locations. Comments are being accepted until Dec. 6.
LEDs are small light sources that become illuminated by the movement of electrons through a semiconductor material. The LEDs in this project will be installed in existing light fixtures, similar to existing light bulbs. Popular in holiday lighting and other specialty uses, LEDs are durable, long-lasting, and use about one-tenth as much energy as incandescent bulbs.
Lighting is approximately 20 percent of an average commercial business’ energy bill. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Sixth Power Plan estimates that 44 average megawatts can be saved in the region through commercial-sector lighting initiatives within five years. That’s enough to power nearly 38,000 homes for a year with electricity saved through energy efficient lighting. In some of the test locations for this pilot project, the LEDs are expected to reduce the existing lighting energy consumption by 90 percent.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that adoption of LED lighting over the next 20 years can deliver savings of about $265 billion in reduced energy costs, avoiding the construction of 40 new power plants and reducing the demand for electricity due to lighting by 33 percent.
After the BPA test, the remaining LEDs will be installed if the participating facilities choose that option. Pictures, project site descriptions and a summary of feedback will made available.
Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.
The Bonneville Power Administration, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is a not-for-profit federal electric utility that operates a high-voltage transmission grid comprising more than 15,000 miles of lines and associated substations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. It also markets more than a third of the electricity consumed in the Pacific Northwest. The power is produced at 31 federal dams operated by the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation and one nuclear plant in the Northwest and is sold to more than 140 Northwest utilities. BPA purchases power from seven wind projects and has more than 3,000 megawatts of wind interconnected to its transmission system.