Focus on Energy: St. Norbert Gym Gets Update Saving Money and Gaining Flexibility

Media Contacts:
Julie Semancik/Tim Wirtz
Hoffman York
414-225-9568 / 414-225-9522
[email protected]
[email protected]

– Focus on Energy and US Lamp to receive plaque for role in improving energy efficiency at St. Norbert 25-year-old gym-

DE PERE, Wis. (November 8, 2004) – Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy program, along with US Lamp of Green Bay have helped transform St. Norbert College’s 25-year-old gym from near inadequacy into an energy efficient, and fully functioning facility. According to Lewis Pullen, Director of Facilities for the De Pere sports center, “the gym was inefficient, costly and so inadequate we were unable to host events such as the regional women’s high school basketball tournament.”

Thanks to the efforts of Focus on Energy and US Lamp, the gym now has a new fluorescent lighting system that not only has cut electricity costs in the gym by two-thirds but provides more light, is easier to maintain and use and offers the flexibility to control lighting depending upon activities in the gym. “With these improvements, our coaches and players are absolutely excited,” said Pullen.

US Lamp did the initial designs for the new system, provided the materials and brought in an electrical contracting firm for the installation, which was completed in the summer of 2003. Focus on Energy, worked with US Lamp and St. Norbert to provide a non-biased second opinion on both the lighting needs and the cost and efficiency of the proposed solutions, and to help ensure the project proceeded as smoothly as possible.

“We worked with Focus on Energy, which also worked with the customer, to make sure the customer got a high efficiency lighting system with the most cost effective solution and the best performance,” said Randy Johnson, president of US Lamp. “That was everyone’s goal.”
Over the next 15 years, after subtracting the $70,000 in up-front costs, the new and improved lighting in the gym will save a minimum of $104,000. Peter Brown from Metal-Optics, the manufacturer of the lighting fixtures will present Focus on Energy and US Lamp with a plaque on
behalf of the school in recognition of their efforts on Thursday, November 11, in the Schulde SportsCenter lobby at 10:30 a.m.

The new fluorescent system also allows different levels of lighting. It consists of 98 fixtures, with six lamps for each fixture compared to the 124 fixtures that were previously used. It’s now possible to control how many fixtures are turned on and to control the number of lamps that are used in each fixture. This allows each coach to have a particular lighting configuration that meets their individual needs.

“Now, we can have the basketball court on full, which you need for playing, and put the bleachers on one-third so people can see their program but they’re not blinded by the light,” Pullen said. “The volleyball coach likes more lighting, so for those games we increase lighting to two-thirds in the bleachers. So each sport can program the lighting to their needs.”

With the new system, the gym’s lighting costs went from about $16,875 per year to about $5,287 – or an annual savings of about $11,600. After taking into account the initial costs, the project will pay for itself within six years.

Nathan Nygaard, Energy Advisor for Focus on Energy’s Schools and Government program, said the improvements at St. Norbert are easily transferable “to buildings that have large spaces, and specifically gyms. Any school gym in the state using older metal halide lighting should look into switching to a more energy efficient system. And we’re here to help.”

About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is a public-private partnership offering energy information and services to energy utility customers throughout Wisconsin. The goals of this program are to encourage energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, enhance the environment and ensure the future supply of energy for Wisconsin. Since July 2001, the program has helped Wisconsin’s businesses and residents reduce their annual energy consumption by more than 515 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and more than 25 million therms of natural gas. For more information, call 800-762-7077 or visit