Federated Rural Electric leads by example with LED lighting

Interview with Jon Beckman

What energy improvements did you make, and why?

Federated Rural Electric is in the energy sales and conservation business. We want our customers to use energy wisely, so it was important that we set a good example in our own facilities.

  1. We upgraded the office T-8 fluorescents to new LED fixtures
  2. We upgraded the outdoor lighting and highway sign to LEDs
lighting before and after

LED lighting (left) replaces old (right)

What did you learn along the way?

  1. While we have an electrician on staff, he is busy with his regular duties. It was a good move to hire a contractor to do our lighting conversion so that it could be done in an efficient manner.
  2. We ran into budget constraints. The lighting rebates were lower than expected, so we will probably do the cold storage conversion next year (these lights used less often, so that payback is slower).

Photos: Highway Sign & Office Tour

How did you share the project, and how have people reacted?

Sharing: We posted photos about the different stages of the lighting project on our Facebook page (buildingsign), did a story in our August 2018 Connections newsletter, and talked about it at the annual meeting. We also hosted a group of electrical students from Minnesota West that learned about our lighting project, electric car, and recently installed generator that provides backup power.

Reactions: At first employees thought the new LED lights were too bright, but they adjusted within a week and we now have a better lit facility. Plus, the outside lights are white instead of orange, providing better quality lighting with more coverage.

We will use our story to educate our members on how upgrading to LED lighting will pay for itself in about 3.5 years to encourage our customers to do similar types of projects.

Jon Beckman with Federated Rural Electric

Project Snapshot

  • Technology: Lighting Upgrades
  • SW CERT Seed Grant: $3,200
  • Total Project Cost: $39,715
  • Other Funds: utility rebate, in-kind labor, utility’s budget
  • Project Team:
    • Jeff Armbrust & Jon, Kahler Electric
    • Jon Beckman (marketing specialist), Dave Berlin (master electrician), Andrea Christoffer (marketing & communications manager), Federated Rural Electric
    • Bradley Thomas (instructor), Minnesota West Community & Technical College
  • People Involved and Reached: 6,745
  • Annual Energy Savings: 104,000 kWh


Federated Connections August 2018

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