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Local Digest

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Dec. 22, 2000
Lauderdale County could save more than $33,000 annually in utility bills by retrofitting lighting systems with more energy efficient fixtures, a survey suggests.
Lauderdale County Administrator Rex Hiatt said Billy Pinkerton of FMS Lighting Management Systems completed the building survey working with Mississippi Power employees at no charge to the county.
Potential energy savings were estimated on the basis of present energy costs. Pinkerton's study suggested replacing the old lighting systems with new ones would cost $150,583. Hiatt said the county could either finance the replacement through Mississippi Power or pay for it directly but either way, the new systems would be paid for with the county's monthly savings over a five-year period.
A representative of the company told supervisors they could accept or reject the plan in whole or in part, because installing new lighting systems in some buildings could save more than in others or take longer to reap benefits.
For example, installing a new system at the Juvenile Center would cost $12,239, but the county would save $3,544 a year in utility bills. At the sheriff's garage, it would cost $1,143 to install a new system and the county would save $186 each year.
He said savings might be higher in summer months, since old lighting fixtures give off heat, making air conditioners run longer. The new lighting systems don't put out heat. He said savings might also come in maintenance since the new systems have fewer pieces.
Board of Supervisors President Hank Florey and District 3 Supervisor Craig Hitt are on a supervisors' building and grounds committee. They say the work would have to be put up for bid if supervisors decide to do it.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star.
E-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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