Oklahoma Co-op Prioritizes Labor Savings in Switch to LED
Logan Pleasant, Director of Engineering and Operations of Lake Region Electric Coop, was developing a business case to convert the co-op’s HPS and MV security lights to LED when he attended the 2014 TechAdvantage Conference & Expo. At the expo, he came across the Evluma AreaMax with Photocontrol Failsafe, a patented technology that manages the dusk-to- dawn operation of the light should the photocontrol fail. Intrigued by the concept of a light that would continue to function even if the photo eye failed, he requested a sample.
Lake Region tested lights from seven different vendors
Lake Region tested lights from seven different vendors, mounting them inside a blacked-out warehouse with 25 ft. ceilings. One light was a retrofit kit. “The retrofit kit was eliminated immediately because of the labor requirements,” stated Logan. The remaining lights were assessed on aesthetics, warranty, surge protection, CCT, glare and most importantly, possible points of failure. “With Photocontrol Failsafe that meant the AreaMax had only a single point of failure whereas most of the lights we looked at had at least three.” The AreaMax was also the only light offered in 4000K CCT at that time. “It came down to two lights we were serious about.”
"The quality of the product stood out immediately"
The ability to disconnect the AreaMax from the ground utilizing ConnectLED Bluetooth controls also set the AreaMax apart. “Our practice is to de-energize a light in the event of non-payment. We wanted to be able to do that with ground personnel versus aerial personnel."
“The hurdle to get over was the relative youth of Evluma,” stated Logan. As a result, Lake Region started out small, installing just over 1200 lights in four years, spending only half the security light budget and continually assessing the program at every step. Now over three years into an Associated Truckload program managed by Evluma’s Factory Representative, Rob Kirkpatrick of CBLP “people are calling us demanding these lights. They want to have the same light as their neighbor.” Lake Region has seen a few failures, “but nothing significant. My warehouseman, he knows how many and how often we were replacing the HPS lights. He’s very impressed. The warranty service has been topnotch.” says Logan.
"The linemen have been blown away by the robustness of the light"
Lake Region has two primary types of security lights: 70W HPS and 175W MV. The HPS lights fail faster and they are converting these to LED as they fail. “In our next phase, we’re going to change a light out anytime we’re near one. If we are on a pole to change a transformer, we’re going to change out the light. Our power costs are low and our labor costs are high. It’s not the cost of the fixture, it’s the labor to install it.”
“The linemen have been blown away by the robustness of the light. This really is a light you’re going to be able to hang and walk away from and not have to come back. They’re trying to install them faster than I’m willing to allow. I know they love the lights, yet we still have a budget.”
Once the HPS are replaced, Lake Region will still have MV on the line. “Switching the MV is easily cost justified because of the higher wattage. In the final analysis energy savings does play a part, but the real financial driver is, ‘How many times do I have to touch a light’?” After four years of working with Evluma, Logan’s perception of Evluma is very positive. “I know my warehouseman’s perception is very positive too, and he’s a hard guy to win over. He’s actually going to other co-ops in the state and bragging on Evluma.”