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  • The "light bulb" went on at Hillcrest Golf Club

    West building

    “If Hillcrest Golf Club is known for its ‘greens,’ then we ought to be truly green.”

    So said Hillcrest Board Member Michael Brennan as the proverbial “light bulb” went on to the benefits of retrofitting the entire Hillcrest Clubhouse with energy efficient LEDs.

    “This is a win-win success story on so many levels,” says Ray Pierotti, project specialist and LPEA’s ‘lighting guy.’ “I’ve been really excited to work with Michael and lighting contractor Jake Messier with Green Star LED. Every business should pay attention to the success of this project.”

    Hillcrest started the process in 2016, replacing exterior lighting and fixtures in the cart storage room, but this spring, as Brennan notes, they went “whole hog.”

    “We replaced more than 350 fluorescent bulbs,” says Brennan. “In truth, it looks like a remodel, but all we did was install LED lights.”

    The 2017 project cost was approximately $10,000. Through LPEA’s LED rebate program, for the nearly 13 kW reduced in power consumption, Hillcrest received a $3,222 rebate.

    “But the real genius is that Hillcrest took advantage of LPEA’s On-bill Financing Program,” says Pierotti. “They secured a loan – which is done in partnership with First Southwest Bank – for $7,500, which the club will pay back on their LPEA bill over the next five years. The monthly reduction in energy costs basically negates that loan repayment. But even if they hadn’t done the loan and paid on their own, Hillcrest would realize a return on their lighting investment in less than a year. This is crazy good!”

    “We’re conservatively estimating that we’ll save $4,000 a year in energy costs, and it basically cost me nothing to do the project,” says Brennan. “And Green Star did the work in three days, so interruption in business was negligible.”

    In addition to the energy savings, Hillcrest has realized significant lighting improvement (to the point that staff has commented that they didn’t realize how dark it had previously been in various spots). Plus the club has noted added savings with labor and materials, as no longer do employees need to purchase and replace the old incandescent and fluorescent bulbs that continually burned out.

    Next up for Hillcrest is LED retrofit in the club’s shop, located at the far end of the property, as well as possible installation of electric vehicle charging stations and roof-top solar to off-set about one-third of the club’s electricity usage.

    “There are a lot of layers to this,” says Brennan, noting he took time with LPEA to get educated – through reading LPEA’s materials, and attending the Annual Meeting and Pierotti’s Lunch & Lights workshops. “All those pieces informed me so I could take the leap. I hope people wake up and say, ‘what am I waiting for?’”

    “It is education,” echoes Pierotti. “And we are happy to help our members. In today’s environment, costs keep going up and a business can raise prices only so much, so the best thing is to cut your costs. This is one way to do it.”

    Learn more about LED lighting retrofits and On-bill Financing at www.lpea.coop. Contact Pierotti directly at 970.382.7770.