By Marvin Cox
The five-year project to replace or retrofit all of Camana Bay’s common areas with environmentally friendly LED lighting enters its last stage in the first quarter of 2017.
LED – which stands for Light Emitting Diode – lamps use significantly less electricity than other forms of lighting and last a lot longer.
Chip Ogilvie, Director of [Property Operations] at Dart Real Estate, said the five-year project began in 2012.
“The initiative is intended to inspire greater local appreciation for the growing reliability for energy-efficient LED, reduce energy consumption and in doing so, reduce Camana Bay’s – and by extension, the Cayman Islands’ – carbon footprint,” he said.
The five-year timeline was deliberately chosen to provide enough time for technology to improve to ensure product reliability and to allow for a greater choice in a colour palette for the LED lighting. The project was scheduled in three phases, all supervised by Ogilvie. The phased approach worked well for locally contracted electrical vendors who needed the time to educate themselves on recent LED innovations, which have seen a dramatic improvement in the quality of lighting in recent years.
“LED technology has finally come of age and is now the most viable lighting source available,” said Ogilvie. “This shift to extremely reliable lighting has taken place only in the past five years. Prior LED technology was less than reliable and more expensive. Today’s purpose-built LED lighting is often warrantied for 100,000 hours. That is about 23 years if used in a dusk-to-dawn application. Prior lighting technologies such as HID or fluorescent were typically around 10,000 hours.”
The first phase of the conversion project involved total replacement of fluorescent and metal halide lights in the Forum Lane and Solaris Avenue garages. Photosensitive switches that turn off lights under comfortable, natural lighting conditions and then turn them on under low-lighting conditions were also included in the LED retrofit of some of the exterior lighting.
In 2014, the second phase began to replace or retrofit the lighting in all common area lobbies, the common restrooms and the elevators.
In the third and final phase, all the conventional street and dock lighting will be replaced with LED lamps.
With an anticipated much longer lifespan, LED lighting requires fewer maintenance calls to replace burned bulbs and offers savings in lift equipment rental costs as a result. LED lamps also burn cooler than traditional fluorescent lighting, translating to energy savings from air conditioning sources.
The entire conversion project involves the replacement of about 22,000 bulbs across Camana Bay with LED options.
“LED conversion projects have typically yielded savings from 28 percent to 84 percent depending upon the original technology being replaced,” said Ogilvie. “These savings impact electrical and air conditioning bills and increase cooling capacity as a side benefit. LED lighting conversion is one of the most effective methods of reducing fossil fuel emissions.”
Books & Books, which is owned by Dart subsidiary Active Capital Ltd., converted to LED lighting three years ago and after the first year it saw an 81-percent reduction in its electric bill. Several Camana Bay tenants have also retrofitted their offices to 100 percent LED in recent months and are already seeing tremendous reductions in electricity usage, with simple payback for the cost of the retrofit being less than 24 months in all cases.
Even Camana Bay’s Christmas decorations were part of the conversion to LED lighting in 2016; all 40,000 lights on the new 37-foot-tree are energy-efficient LED bulbs.