Story – Lights, Camera, Savings

You may have noticed things looking a little brighter around the hospital. That’s all thanks to Energy Manager Mike McKnight and his lights. Over the last few months, he and St. Joe’s team of electricians have been working hard to replace 4,800 fluorescent lightbulbs throughout the corridors and parking lots at King and Charlton Campuses with high-efficiency LED bulbs.

This changeover – still ongoing – represents an annual savings of 671,300 kWh which is equivalent to removing 80 homes from the electric grid. Financially, that’s $90,000 a year. Mike’s team has purchased approximately 5,000 more bulbs to complete the project. At $1 per bulb after incentives, this project will pay for itself within a year, says Mike.

He hopes the next push to replace the remaining bulbs will take place in the next couple of months. Fluorescent bulbs emit a lot of heat waste, switching to LED bulbs will help the hospital to reduce air conditioning costs while still keeping temperatures comfortable and to code throughout the summer. Like the first push, this will require a lot of dedicated time from the team of four electricians, who sacrificed weekends for the switch, so as to limit impact to patients and staff.

“What it comes down to is the financial savings and the improved Colour Rendering Index,” explains Mike. The bulbs he’s selected, while significantly more efficient, won’t fade over time, keeping rooms brighter for longer. Fluorescent bulbs tend to fade to yellow.

Next, Mike is looking toward improving air barriers at entrances, to help separate outside from inside environments and improve temperature regulation, repairing our external signs, and offering more opportunities to get to know and teach staff and physicians at St. Joe’s more about what he does. He’s always looking for ways to improve efficiency at the hospital and encourages anyone to reach out with more opportunities.


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