Environmental stewardship—Lots of watts
How many watts do you save when you change a light bulb? Lots!
2020 saw the culmination of a three year project related to fulfilling our heritage of being a good steward of the earth through modernization and upgrades that save both money and the environment.
A major project involved changing virtually all the facility’s lightbulbs to LED from incandescent. In the hallways alone more than 338 bulbs were changed from 32 watt fluorescent to 16 watt LED. The 40 outside fixtures were also updated. In several spots the number of bulbs could also be reduced. The average savings per bulb is$9, for a reduction in electricity costs of more than $3,400.
Director of Facilities and Infrastructure Drew Curtis oversaw the conversion, which was a satisfying project. “We’ve made choices to conserve electricity, conserve water, and enhance sanitation. Not only was it the right thing to do for the environment,” he said, “residents, family members, and supporters of St. Joseph Home can all be confident that there is a carefully considered purpose for why and how money is spent in maintaining the facility.”
Light bulbs were not all that got changed. For both conservation and infection control purposes, the restrooms were updated with motion-sensor lights and motion-activated faucets, and touchless flush mechanisms on the toilets. Next will be touchless paper towel dispensers.
As COVID focused everyone’s attention not only on the surfaces we touch but on the air we breathe, Curtis had a plan for that, too. Two upgrades improved the cleanliness of the air throughout the entire campus where an ionization air purification system was added and all the air filters were upgraded.
Curtis observed, “A lot of the work we do is literally behind-the-scenes, as in behind the walls and above the ceilings, so it can be easy to miss.”
One green asset that is front and center is the new outdoor furniture made of recycled materials that is part of the recently completed green space, and other outdoor areas. The sturdy, durable, and attractive picnic tables and chairs are made from plastic recovered from landfills and oceans.
As part of overall environmental consciousness, a new water bottle filling station was installed outside of Cottage 2; it counts the bottles filled. In its first two weeks, 300 bottles were filled; that translates into 9,000 bottles worth of water over the course of a year. Curtis added, “When the campus opens up again after COVID use, and savings, will likely be even greater. More water bottle filling stations are planned for the coming year, which will keep thousands of plastic bottles from going into landfills each year.”
While the lighting project may be complete, SJH will continue to prioritize good stewardship of the earth through ongoing updates.