Leading Edge Designs on the Grid for Southern California Schools


LEDBy Hazel A. Tamano

The smart grid technology industry, which includes energy-efficient lighting, solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, hydroelectricity, marine energy, and biomass, is a $ 33 billion global revenue industry as of 2012, and it’s growing. Smart grid technologies are not only promising because of the potential they bring to the energy systems already in place, but also because they enhance a cleaner and more efficient environment at reduced costs. According to Bob Lockhart of Navigant Research, “smart grid technologies improve the reliability and efficiency of the power grid via the application of modern IT capabilities alongside, or in place of existing utility assets and networks.”

As the demand for a more energy-efficient planet becomes the norm and not a trend, LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are becoming the energy-efficient light of choice. Today, Leading Edge Designs*, a direct manufacturer and distributor of LEDs, is doing just that and making its way by contributing to the smart grid in more ways than just being green. It has started the “Brighter Days Program” to assist economically distressed school districts in both the Los Angeles and San Diego metros. Due to state- and local-level budget cuts in the schools, there is resistance to smart grid technologies because funds are just not there. To help reduce the upfront costs for schools to go greener, Leading Edge Designs is setting aside 5% of every purchase made by their clients in this program to be applied to the cost of LED lights for the participating Southern California schools. Their commercial customers will also receive 5% off their orders if made by year-end.

This is a great program because it helps reduce the upfront costs for cash-strapped school districts, while achieving savings in maintenance and energy costs for years to come. Bill Motsko, CEO of Leading Edge Designs, says “this is a great program because, with corporate participation, we can reduce upfront costs, and the savings on the school’s operating budget per year will have a notable affect. This will enable school districts to refocus and redirect these dollars as needed for projects such as enhancing education programs, purchasing new equipment, helping to keep teachers employed, or helping to fund music and sport programs.” For example, LED lighting can save one school enough in energy and maintenance expenses in one year to perhaps pay a teacher’s salary.

Smart grid technological advancements (such as LEDs) are not only green, but allow us to stop wasting money powering inefficient, outdated systems. Green energy reduction (via better technology) has higher performance than green energy production by a factor of 4-5 times, meaning the cost of reducing energy consumption is more beneficial than the cost of generating new energy. Plus, energy conservation lowers the demand on an already “stressed” infrastructure.

Leading Edge Designs specializes in commercial grade new and retrofit LEDs, so their products fit the cause. Retrofit LEDs are great for schools because they can use existing fixtures and wiring so as not to add another capital expense burden to achieve benefits. School lighting projects may include theatres, administration & facilities buildings, classrooms, school stadiums, sports fields and courts, parking lots, and other indoor and outdoor lighting.

Leading Edge Designs is a San Diego Green tech company that solves clients’ lighting challenges by designing, fabricating and delivering LED lighting products that use only the latest technologies that maximize efficiency and value. They also use recycled materials and design their products so they can also be recycled after their useful life, which typically ranges from 11-22+ years. Because lighting technology has advanced, resulting in greater efficiency and longer product lifespans, buying bulbs off-the-shelf no longer provides the best value. Tailoring products to specific applications allows customers to fine tune their lighting, thus achieving better quality light where and when needed, realizing significant energy savings and lowering maintenance costs. Leading Edge Designs brings this customized approach to their clients, while remaining cost competitive and delivering the highest quality possible.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “if all U.S. businesses and institutions conducted cost-effective energy upgrades, they could reduce their average energy use by 25%. The total cost of this work would be more than $ 100 billion — which would be offset as a result of lower energy bills.” Leading Edge Designs’ lighting is a major component of creating energy-efficient buildings because, as a model green business, they are helping companies to save 50-80% or more of energy costs over traditional lighting. This is a dramatic savings for organizations with limited funding sources, and will help those businesses and agencies that install these lights for years to come.

*This article was supported by Leading Edge Designs.

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Green Good and Services Program, www.bls.gov/ggs, July 2013
2. CleanTechnica, www.cleantechnica.com, July 2013
3. Clean Tech San Diego, www.cleantechsandiego.org, July 2013
4. Earth Easy for Sustainable Living, www.eartheasy.com, July 2013
5. LA Cleantech Cluster, www.laedc.org/cleantech, July 2013
6. Leading Edge Designs, www.led-ltd.us, July 2013
7. The Smart Grid, www.smartgrid.gov, July 2013

Image Credit: Leading Edge Designs

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