August 13, 2010
Austin Energy Enters Into solar supply agreement
You might not think your garage uses that much electricity – unless you have 750 parking spaces and the lights must stay on 24 hours a day. The City of Austin is reducing the wattage of the City Hall parking garage by 74 percent and will save more than $46,000 a year in electricity costs.
About 425 175-watt metal halide fixtures are being replaced with 53-watt Light Emitting Diode (LED) fixtures that will save 575,462 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, the equivalent power used by 48 average-size homes in Austin year-round. The City Hall parking garage operates as a pay-to-park public garage and is open 24 hours a day.
LED parking luminaries reduce energy use by 30% to 75% over standard high intensity discharge fixtures such as metal halide lamps and last six to seven times longer or eight years versus 1.3 years. LEDs also provide improved light quality and the quality of the light degrades less than other lamps as they age.
The project is being paid for with part of a $7.5 million federal stimulus grant that was awarded to Austin Energy to increase the efficiency of City of Austin municipal facilities. About 60 City of Austin facilities will receive lighting upgrades over the next two years. Other improvements that will be made with the federal money include weatherization of older City of Austin facilities and repairs and optimization of energy equipment such as air conditioners.