Marshall

Now reading even better: LED lighting brightens Marshall-Lyon County Library

Energy cost savings bolster collections & community programs

Illuminating a local
library

 

For the past five years, Marshall-Lyon County Library has had a goal to invest in energy efficiency to save both energy and costs, improving its use of public resources.

A recent LED lighting retrofit completed with the support of a Southwest CERT Seed Grant helped improve the library’s facilities, save energy, and reduce costs. With this successful project, the library is helping spread the word about actions residents and other local organizations can take to invest in energy efficiency.

 

The money saved in electric expenses can help us to better expand the library’s collections, resources, and the programs we offer to our community.

Michele Leininger, director at Marshall-Lyon County Library

Good stewards of public funds

For the past five years, Marshall-Lyon County Library has had a goal to invest in energy efficiency to save both energy and costs, improving its use of public resources.

“One of our priorities is to practice strong stewardship of public funds… When the electricity costs back in 2016 were estimated to exceed $50,000 for the year, we knew it was time to make some changes for [the] sake of efficiency,” said Michele Leininger, director at Marshall-Lyon County Library.

High energy costs can shift the limited dollars public entities like Marshall-Lyon County Library have away from other valuable programming and services, but investments in energy efficiency can help.

“Any public dollars that has to go to keeping the doors open and the lights on are dollars that cannot be used for additional materials to check out or programs that we offer,” said LuAnn Anderson, administrative manager and IT specialist at the library, who has been helping coordinate the facility’s energy efficiency projects.

 

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Photos: Installing new LED lights at the library.

Lighting upgrades save energy and money

After making tweaks to the library’s geothermal system and other adjustments to the facility’s operations, staff knew replacing the 10 year-old building’s less efficient fluorescent light bulbs and outdated fixtures was next on the list of energy efficiency projects.

“A significant step in that [energy savings] process has involved replacing fluorescent bulbs in the library building with LED lamps and appropriate fixtures,” Leininger said.

Upgrades were installed in the facility’s Teen study corner and Children’s Library. This retrofit project was made possible with the help of a Southwest CERT Seed Grant, which provided funds for labor to install the new equipment.

“The grant allowed Marshall-Lyon County Library to convert the public areas of the building into a highly efficient user of local electric resources, which has allowed the library to take the cost savings gleaned from the new lighting and put it into library services for the community,” said Anderson.

“It has also made some of the spaces much brighter, providing easier use of the collections for customers,” she added.

In terms of other benefits, the team noted seeing increased savings on the building’s electric bill, which can be used to reinvest in the library’s programming.

“The money saved in electric expenses can help us to better expand the library’s collections, resources, and the programs we offer to our community,” Leininger said.

 

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Photos: New LED lights brighten up library spaces.

On the topic of energy efficiency, quite a lot of buzz has come from talk of LED upgrades for most modern light fixtures, from public spaces like our library, to restaurants, to places of worship, to our very own homes.

Thomas Flynn, Assistant Librarian at Marshall-Lyon County Library

Inspiring others to conserve

When visible, local public spaces like libraries invest in energy efficiency, there can be a ripple effect among other energy users in the broader community.

“On the topic of energy efficiency, quite a lot of buzz has come from talk of LED upgrades for most modern light fixtures, from public spaces like our library, to restaurants, to places of worship, to our very own homes,” wrote Thomas Flynn, assistant librarian at Marshall-Lyon County Library, in a story about the library’s lighting project.

Flynn hopes that this project inspires residents to explore and consider how to make energy efficiency improvements in their homes, as well.

“LED upgrades aren’t only helpful in decreasing energy costs in public spaces – they’re upgrades you can make in your own home,” he added. The library offers a “Power Check Meter” device available for checkout by patrons interested in learning more about electricity consumption by appliances and devices in their homes.

To spread the word about the upgrades and value of energy efficiency, the library released an article about the project on their website and issued a press release to the local papers and radio station.

Today, with its lighting retrofit project complete and hope on the horizon as pandemic restrictions begin to roll back, the library’s team is looking ahead to more ways to share the project’s success.

The library plans to provide future presentations and educational materials to patrons on the topic and raise awareness about energy conservation and the benefits of energy efficiency when they return to normal in-person programming and operations in the future. They are also encouraging other community groups and local organizations to apply for CERT Seed Grant support.

“The project was straightforward and the process simple, so it worked very well,” said Anderson. “We have encouraged others to review the grant and consider applying because it is such a simple process.”

Project Snapshot

 
  • Clean Energy Focus: Lighting Upgrade
  • Southwest CERT Seed Grant: $2,500
  • Total Project Cost: $6,275
  • Other Funds: Library budget
  • Project Team: LuAnn Anderson, Michele A. Leininger, and Paula Nemes with Marshall-Lyon County Library and Mike Meier with Meier Electric
  • People Involved and Reached: 100
  • Annual Energy Savings: 10,861 kWh
 
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