Virginia school district adopts LED lighting to save energy

Newport News, Virginia is leading the state in energy efficiency when it comes to illuminating their public schools. The district teamed up with Cree, a maker of high performance, low-emission LED fixtures to replace the lighting systems of seven area schools.

The new LED lights replaced 189 high-pressure sodium and 150 incandescent fixtures that were previously weighing heavily on the district's electric bills. By using LED lighting, officials estimate that they will save enough money on utilities over the next three years to have completely covered the costs of the project.

"These energy efficient lights virtually eliminate maintenance, provide the district with dramatic energy savings and also reflect the community’s commitment to sustainability. The LED lighting furthers our goal of enhancing and bettering the learning environment, while saving money for the schools and tax-payers," Keith Webb, the executive director of plant services for the Newport News Public School District, said in a press release.

This is not the first time the school district has made attempts to reduce its environmental impact. In 2008, Newport News invested almost $6 million into an energy efficient overhaul of local schools, replacing fluorescent and incandescent lighting with LED fixtures.

The upgrades made by the district will not only improve on their utility costs, but also provide brighter, more uniform lighting where the new fixtures were applied, according to the press release.

Virginia residents who would like to follow the example set by the Newport News School District by making their properties more efficient should get an energy audit from a home inspection contractor. This will help them to see where they can make changes to receive the greatest savings possible.