WILL ROGERS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Okla. –
Three hundred and sixty-six traditional lightbulbs around base and on the flight line were recently replaced with light-emitting diode, or LED, fixtures at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City.
“The lights are actually pretty hard to look at directly,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Morton, 137th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron (137th SOCES) operations manager. “But in seriousness, everything is going to LED now.”
The project was separated into two parts, one for the flight line fixtures and another for the outside building and pole lights scattered around base. For the latter, the contract project cost totaled $232,000, which included design and construction.
Though the initial cost seems steep, the fixtures are predicted to the save the base, and therefore the Air National Guard, nearly $30,000 in the first year and racking up more than $340,000 in operational savings in 7.5 years.
“We get a bill from the power company for every building on base,” said Norton. “That’s a lot of bills and a lot of money saved.”
The LED fixtures are estimated to last 15 years and drop the wattage for the necessary brightness of the fixtures on base to a range of 9 - 487 watts from the 130 to 1100-watt range of the original bulbs.
According to the Department of Energy’s website, “residential LEDs – especially ENERGY STAR rated products – use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.”
LEDs are directional lights the size of a fleck of pepper and are made up of red, green and blue LEDs to make their white light. They also emit very little heat, compared to the 90 percent of energy released as heat of incandescent bulbs, and are more durable.
In fact, “switching entirely to LED lights over the next two decades could save the U.S. $250 billion in energy costs, reduce electricity consumption for lighting by nearly 50 percent and avoid 1,800 million metric tons of carbon emissions,” according to the Department of Energy website.
“With LEDs, you’re basically using half the power on a fixture that would last 15 years,” said Norton.
The process, which included design and engineering, contracting, material purchase, construction, and a final inspection, began in mid-June and took a little less than three months to complete.
It also included members from the 137th SOCES working until nearly 4 a.m. to correctly aim the 66 directional LED fixtures on the flight line and directly impacting the flying mission at Will Rogers.
“Pilots were saying that areas of the taxiway leading onto our ramp were dark,” said Norton. “With the LEDs, it’s no longer a problem.”
Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the 137th Special Operations Wing website.