High expectations: New lights mean big savings
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Visitors to Memphis International Airport this summer may have noticed the crews working on the lights that surround the top of the airport's iconic columns and give the airport its signature 'martini glass' look at night.
It's a tough job, especially in the summer heat, but it's a job that's going to improve the airport tremendously as we replace the old halogen lamps with brand new LED lamps that use far less electricity. The update not only helps the environment, but will save the airport tens of thousands of dollars per year in energy costs.
The B Terminal high column lights were originally installed in 1961 and have required more maintenance over the years to keep them in working order. Originally, there were six 150 watt lamps on the face of each column. That's 24 lamps, or 3600 watts, total per column, fed by eight circuits. Several years ago we changed out to 90 watt Halogen lamps (2160 watts per column) which cut down the electrical circuit load, though some the circuits in the individual columns were still lost from years of overloading.
On June 6, MEM started a much-needed project to completely refurbish our high column lights -- removing the 70-pound, 3-foot-tall boxes, receptacles, and wiring in the "crown" of the columns and replacing the 90-watt Halogen lamps with brand new, 17-watt LED lamps. The result is an energy savings of more than 1750 watts per column. When all is said and done, the changes equate to roughly $19,600 in savings on our annual electric bill from MLGW.
The change will allow MEM to operate each column with only two circuits now, which means less maintenance. Plus, with 12 hours per day of use we expect the new lamps to last for more than five years before needing to be changed out (the 90 watt halogens required changing every three to four months).
So yeah, you could say this was a pretty bright idea.