Lighting retrofit at Madison, Marietta, Nassau Elementary a learning opportunity for students


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Thank you note from the teacher

Looking for a CERTs Seed Grant project example that educated students and the greater community about energy efficiency AND reduces costs AND improves the lighting quality? Look no further than the Madison, Marietta, Nassau Elementary School!

Madison, Minnesota (pop. 1,551) is located in West Central Minnesota. Back in 2014, the gymnasium at the elementary school was in sore need of better lighting, and the students were primed and pumped for the retrofit. “The school had completed a partnership with the City of Madison Bright Energy Solutions—an energy saving education program—for the 4th grade class that school year,” says Principal Kipp Stender. “The program taught students about the importance and ways to implement energy efficiency savings with their parents at home. The lighting retrofit at the school was an additional way to show the students how energy savings could be implemented at a larger scale.”

City Manager Jon Radermacher added an example of how the program tested students’ math skills . “The students were given kits that included digital thermometers, LED nightlights, and three 23 watt compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). One of their projects was to calculate the annual savings of a year of CFL usage versus the 100 watt incandescent bulbs.”

The biggest challenge was coordinating with the vendors and contractors for the delivery and installation of the lights. “There were a couple delays in the shipments of the lighting, which caused rescheduling of the installation.”

But once the new lights were installed in the gymnasium, people were immediately impressed. “The old halide lights took 10 to 15 minutes to warm up,” says City Manager Radermacher. “With the T-8s you have an ‘instantaneous on.’ We get a lot of use in the gym and this really helps that people don’t have to wait for them to warm up anymore.”

“One of the first things we did after the new lights were installed was a Memorial Day program with all the vets and community coming in, we must have had 100 people. People were raving about how much brighter the place felt; we had a lot of compliments after that program.”

Principal Stender notes that the gymnasium lighting retrofit has started a phase of additional energy efficiency improvements for the school district facility, such as additional overhead lighting replacements and exit lighting replacements in the short term. “Replacement in the gymnasium has had a very positive impact on the community, with compliments on the improvement of the quality of light in the gym, and an appreciation for the cost savings and partnerships with the City and the School,” he concludes.

The savings did not stop at the school, either. Students took what they learned in the classroom home to their parents so that they could create even more energy savings in the community.

Results of student learning and action at home

The students were so appreciative that they even created pictures to send to the City of Madison for their help.

Student pictures

Click here to download a report about the energy initiatives at the school >>

Project Snapshot:

  • Technology: Replace 400 watt metal halide lights with T-8 28 watt 4-bay fluorescent fixtures.
  • Benefits: 143,930 kWh of electricity saved per year, energy efficiency education
  • CERTs Seed Grant: $4,950
  • Total Project Cost: $12,390

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    CERTs Partners:

Minnesota Department of Commerce University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission