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Written by Steve Heising   
May 10, 2006 at 11:16 AM
25 Watt SunWave T8 lamps are a success at Boulder Community Hospital.

Just as our own Boulder Community Hospital had completed and settled in to their new "first in the nation" Leeds Silver East Campus, we had a chance to meet the environment manager at a Greenhouse Gas meeting here in Boulder.  It was one of those meetings with 6 foot tables at the back of the room in front of a window.  Several organizations were presenting and the discussions were about plans to meet the Kyoto protocols as adopted by the City. The manager was a speaker at the meeting as our hospital has made a committment to green practices and to reducing green house gas emmissions which is a stance that is pretty much inline with the City of Boulder, Boulder County and CU.

Throughout the day, the hospital's environmental manager had a chance to see the SunWave lamps running at 25 watts per tube as measured on a Kill-a-Watt meter.  The light output was shining off the ceiling, and was making all the rest of the lights in the room look a pale yellow by comparison.  He wanted to know why he had not heard about or seen these lamps before.

We replied, "This is the latest phospor blend and energy efficient tube/cathode design. Here's what we find in the literature about seasonal patterns of medication errors, and here's what we know about simulated daylight, 'Full Spectrum' and seasonal affective disorder, visual acuity, glare... Here's what the light looks like.  You can see how it matches the color of the light from the windows, and that it costs less to operate." The hospital's existing T8 lights are likely running 28-34 watts each per hour. These SunWave lamps can run from 22-26 watts depending on ballast, and they will be 4 to 6 watts lower than what you are currently running without changing ballasts.  For lights that run for 16 to 24 hours per day the savings really adds up fast.  With the daylight color match, and the higher CRI (color rendition index) the SunWave light will also appear brighter than existing lamps even though they use less energy.

As to why he had not heard of these lamps before, we replied, "They are new. AEP is just getting started in the T8 office lamp arena but has over 10 years experience in Light Boxes for treatment of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and related Light Therapy equipment.  One of our Engineers has over 40 years in the lighting design and research, has received and academy award for lighting, and this is one of the best designs to date.  Since we are in Boulder, and you are in Boulder, since your hospitals run 24x7, and as you are the first Leeds certified Hospital in the US, we would like you to try them.  Measure the difference in energy consumption, see what the staff thinks.  Let us try them in a couple of "test" areas and let's see what happens."

So he ordered a couple of cases as replacements lamps to relamp some fixtures in the older West campus. Four weeks go by.  Immediately the staff noticed the change in brightness.  After that, the staff noticed other differences and have commented that it seemed too bright at first but now comments like it's easier to see to read, to clean ... have been heard.  Soon, workers that complained of headaches, especially those in Offices without windows, noticed that they were not getting headaches anymore.  Soon they ordered another case here and another two or three cases there and have been steadily and incrementally investing in energy conservation and environmental performance improvements for all their facilities and not just for the new buildings. 

We heard that somebody in administration wanted to go back to the cheaper alternatives, but that the staff rejected this idea citing energy and ergonomic benefits.  Someone mentioned risk management... So what has happened since?  The hospital manager has ordered even more cases of SunWave F32 T8 Plus lamps. Yet another example were a "a slightly more expensive" product is the better value.

Thanks Boulder Community Hospital for helping all of us in the community find a ways to sustainablity, and thank you for being an early adopter of the SunWave Technology for greener, safer, and more sustainable healthcare facility operations.

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Now two years later, Kai Ablekis, the Environment manager has ordered over 1,700 SunWave Lamps.  He hosted a tour during the recent 2006 Green Build Conference held here in Denver that was well attended.  He even goes so far as to give away the slightly used brand X T8 lamps on Craigslist.org as the facilities manager won't take them back.  Now that's recycling.

While he likes the energy savings that pays for the lamps, the real bonus is the reduction of headaches and a demonstrated reduced level of absenteeism.  According to Kai, the staff really light the bright white light.  Reports of headaches (and lost work time have gone down especially for those that work on computers in offices without windows.  Even the Docs in the ER and OR like them because the color rendition is so much better that they can actually see what they are doing. (Or does everything look a bit jaundiced under yellow light).  Something about the superior color rendition index and brightness that makes it easier to see what color something really is when they are working on it. 

The energy savings @~$8.10 pays for the T8 lamps at just 4 watts per lamp per hour. A 29 watt T8 typically costs $2.00 to $3.00 so the incremental cost is ~5.00 (before utility rebates) and the payback is over $8.00 in saved energy costs at 8.5 cents per kWh.  On top of that, Xcel Energy recently announce a retroactive rebate that applies to Low Wattage (25 watts for the sunwaves is less than the >28 watt threshold)  So Kai is applying for the rebate and will continue to invest in the economics and ergonomics of SunWave lamps.   

Saving just 1 hour of staff's productive work @~$25.00 is the real bonus. The hospital has already demonstrated reduced absenteeism and reduced headaches which means both their efficiency and their performance have improved.

And you don't have to beleive Kai,  but you are welcome to call him 303-440-2265 or to talk with the hospital staff who have already seen the light. 
Last Updated ( Jun 20, 2008 at 04:49 PM )
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EPA, Green Sports Alliance Partner for Conservation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on September 6 it had signed an agreement with the Green Sports Alliance to work together to address environmental challenges faced by sports venues, organizations, and teams. The two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding that facilitates collaboration between them on issues such as energy conservation and sustainability.

The EPA has also agreed to share tools like the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, an energy management tool that allows building owners to track and assess energy and water consumption, in order to help Alliance members improve their environmental performance.

Green Sports Alliance is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help sports teams, venues, and leagues enhance their environmental performance. Alliance members represent more than 100 sports teams and venues from 13 different sports leagues. See the EPA press release and the EPA's Partnership programs website.