The Change Towards Sustainability
By Jason Park
April 26, 2010
Tompkins Regional Airport Project
Table of Contents
Purpose Pg. 3
Objective Pg. 3
Methodology Pg. 3
Incandescent light bulbs Pg. 3
Benefits and Costs of using CFL lighting Pg. 4
Benefits & Costs of using LED lighting Pg. 6
Cost Savings Model Pg. 8
The Change Towards Sustainability Pg. 11
Work Cited Pg. 12
The purpose of this research project is to recommend the use of CFL/LED lighting at the
Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport and to show the reduction in the airport's energy consumption
while having a positive impact on the environment. In addition, this will allow the airport to
create a sustainable image while benefitting from the financial cost savings of using CFL/LED
The objective is to research and show how CFL/LED lighting can help the Ithaca
Tompkins Regional Airport be more sustainable while maintaining a cost effective budget
through a model that compares costs of incandescent lighting vs. CFL/LED lighting.
The methodology needed for this research project is to, first, reach out to the contact
representative at the airport to answer a specific questions in dealing with the airport's lighting
system to get an idea of what equipment or service is being used. In addition, by taking a tour of
the airport, it will help me observe and understand the layout of the airport and the necessary
changes that may be needed. Afterwards, with enough information I plan to create a model to
show the benefits and costs of using incandescent, CFL and LED lighting at the airport.
Incandescent light bulbs
Approximately, 25% of the electricity consumed in the U.S. comes directly from lighting.
Commercial buildings use roughly 40% of the electricity in lighting. Electricity is one of the
biggest contributors of CO2 emissions and incandescent light bulbs have been the traditional
source of lighting, which dates back to the 1800's. Incandescent light bulbs are manufactured in a
wide variety of watts and sizes ranging from 1.5 to 300 volts. It does not require any additional
regulating equipment and the low manufacturing costs make incandescent bulbs a popular source
of lighting to many consumers. Historically, consumers have stuck with incandescent lighting
due to low costs involved and the fact that it can fit into most light fixtures. Recently, the use of
incandescent lighting are being replaced by the source of electric light such as CFLs and LEDs.
These types of lightings are said to emit less heat while offering brighter quality with the same or
less amount of energy.
Benefits and Costs of using CFL lighting
Compact fluorescent lighting is a type of fluorescent lamp that have been gaining
popularity in the consumer market and now, many are manufactured to replace original
incandescent lamps. CFLs come in different sizes, shapes and colors. However, most CFLs
contain two similar components, the bulb and the ballast. The way a CFL works is that an
electrical current flows through the ballast into the bulb which creates ultraviolet light. With the
combination of ultraviolet light and phosphor inside the bulb, visible light is created. Many CFLs
are manufactured so they can replace incandescent light bulbs by fitting right into light fixtures
that are designed for incandescent light bulbs.
Comparing a CFL with incandescent lighting, CFLs tend to cost on average twice to up to
ten times as much than a standard incandescent light bulb, but consumes less energy and has a
longer life span. Financially, it is estimated that after 500 hours of usage, the higher price of
purchasing a CFL is paid for and the average consumer will start saving money by switching
over from an incandescent light bulb. In the long term, it would be more efficient to use CFLs
over incandescent light bulbs.
Incandescent lighting does a poor job in converting the energy used in to light. Rather, a
big portion of the energy used is emitted in the form of heat. On the contrary, it is estimated that
a CFL uses less than 75% of its energy, converts more energy into light and turns less into heat
than incandescent bulbs. For instance, a 15 watt CFL can generate the same amount of lighting
as of a 60 watt incandescent bulb. The table below depicts the wattage ratings for light output. In
essence, by converting to CFLs, a consumer will be consuming less energy that prevents less
electricity from being used which will reduce the pollution from creating electricity.
Incandescent 40 W 60 W 75 W 100 W
CFL 9W 15 W 20 W 27 W
With all the noted benefits mentioned before, there are some downsides of using CFL
lighting. The major concern in using CFL is the fact that it contains mercury and many
consumers are puzzled on how CFLs should be disposed of or how it should be recycled. There
are state and federal regulations on how mercury containing light bulbs should be recycled. The
consumers would need to reach out to their local recycling centers to find out how to recycle
their light bulbs. In addition, CFLs cannot be used with lighting systems that use a standard
dimming circuit due to safety issues. Therefore, the current dimmer switch would need to be
replaced by a standard switch before CFLs can be used or require the use of special dimming
controls that have been recently introduced. And lastly, CFLs were designed to work efficiently
in a closed space. In relation to the Ithaca airport, it may be difficult to use CFLs for the
threshold lights used on the runways as CFLs are not designed for cold temperatures. However,
recent developments have allowed electronically ballasted CFLs to operate in colder
Benefits & Costs of using LED lighting
Light Emitting Diodes have been discovered as early as the 1930s and provide one of the
most energy efficient light bulbs with one of the longest life spans. Throughout the past ten years,
LEDs have started to gain popularity in the consumer markets due to its efficiency and its cost
savings in the long run. LED lighting can be one of the most expensive light bulbs to buy but it
uses even less energy and lasts longer than a CFLs that the consumers are starting to prefer LED
over CFL. An LED light bulb has the ability to reduce energy consumption by almost 90% and
can last somewhere between 60,000-100,000 hours. While some light bulbs may take a couple
seconds or minutes to light up, an LED light bulb is said to emit light faster than a standard
incandescent light bulb and CFLs. This will beneficial if used with the Threshold lights on the
Ithaca airport runways where lighting is crucial to direct pilots flying into Ithaca especially on a
foggy night. If the Threshold lights are on 24 hours a day, then it can also be another good reason
to change to LED lighting due to the long term cost savings.
In terms of heating, CFL/LED light bulbs have the tendency of emitting less heat
compared to incandescent bulbs. Theoretically, by converting to CFL/LEDs, the light bulbs will
generate less heat inside the airport. During the summer, this will require less cooling which will
reduce the usage of the cooling systems such as the A/C and will keep the airport cooler. In
addition, during the winter, the heating system can heat up airport which can offset the difference
in emitting less heat and can also reduce the energy consumption used by LED lighting.
However, this would depend on the costs involved in the heating system because the costs saved
through LED lighting can be offset by the heating system.
In addition, the significant increase in the light bulb's life span by using CFL/LEDs can
also reduce the labor costs involved in changing the light bulbs. The average life of an
incandescent light bulb is 1,000 hours where CFL/LEDs can last approximately 10,000/60,000
hours. By using CFL/LED lighting, the light bulbs will need less frequent replacement which
results in less labor hours needed to change the light bulbs.
While researching LED lighting, I came across Albeo Technologies, who is a
manufacturer of energy efficient LED lighting systems. The Bowden Ice Arena in Alberta
recently installed Albeo's C series High-Bay LED lighting in its ice rink stadium. The lighting
system is said to be more efficient than fluorescent and HID lighting systems. After installation,
they tested the quality and efficiency of the new lighting system and found that the illumination
levels were 160% brighter while energy consumption was decreased by approximately 30%.
Installing an LED lighting system inside the airport could potentially increase illumination levels
while reducing the energy consumption levels which will result in long term savings. There are a
variety of LED lighting systems that Albeo offers and more information can be found on
Cost Savings Model
Through my research, I was able to formulate a direct cost savings model that compares
the different financial savings generated from switching from an incandescent lighting system to
a CFL/LED lighting system. This model can be seen below.
Cost Savings Model
Fluorescent Light Diode Light
Incandescent Light Bulbs Bulbs) Bulbs)
Life Span (in hours) 1,000 10,000 60,000
Watts 60 15 6
Cost $1.25 $3.22 $39.95
KWh of electricty used over 60k hours 3,600 900 360
Electricity Cost (@ $0.11 per KWh) $396.00 $99.00 $39.60
Bulbs needed for 60k hours of usage 60 6 1
Equivalent 60k hour bulb expense $75.00 $19.32 $39.95
Total Lighting Expenses At 60,000 Hours $471.00 $118.32 $79.55
Ultimately, I had to make certain assumptions in order to create this model. First, based
on my research, the majority of articles estimates the average life span of an incandescent, CFL,
and LED light bulbs were about 1,000, 10,000, and 60,000 hours respectively. (Some light bulbs
may have a shorter life cycle while others may last longer than the average time period.) In
addition, the incandescent, CFL, and LED light bulbs that were being used were to have 60, 15,
and 6 watts and would cost approximately $1.25, $3.22, and $39.95 respectively. (The price of
these light bulbs were found on Wal-Mart and from Amazon.com) If this was the case, through
my analysis, it would take about 3,600 kilowatt hours of electricity over 60,000 hours, 900 KWh
for a CFL light bulb and 360 KWh for an LED light bulb. As I was not able to acquire an
accurate electricity bill from the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, I estimated that it would cost
approximately $0.11 per KWh based on my NYSEG (New York State Electricity & Gas) bill in
Ithaca, NY. Through basic algebra, I was able to determine that I would need 60 incandescent
light bulbs and 6 CFL in order to maintain at least 60,000 hours of usage. In addition, it would
cost an incandescent light bulb $75, $19.32 for a CFL, and $39.95 for an LED light bulb to last
at least 60,000 hours. Through the combination of these assumptions and calculations, the total
expenses that would incur (including both the electricity costs and the expenses for the light
bulbs) would be approximately $471, $118.32, and $79.55 respectively. At 60,000 hours or in
approximately 6.85 years, there is clearly a difference in the costs associated with using these
I formulated another model which can be seen below which contains an in depth model
relating more closely to the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. However, more assumptions had
to be made for this model to be possible. I assumed that there were approximately 2,000 light
bulbs at the airport and had to determine that the lights were going to be used for approximately
15 hours each day. I also assumed that there were 30 days in a month as the calculations would
become complicated if I took in to account of the different numbers of days in each month. With
the combination of these assumptions and the total lighting expense from the model above, I was
able to calculate the total expenses (electricity costs and replacement costs) of all three types of
light bulbs. The cost savings in this model is immense! By the end of the 60,000th hour or in
6.85 years, there would be over $700,000 of savings using CFL lighting system from an
incandescent lighting system. By changing from a CFL to LED lighting system, the costs that
are saved is over $75,000. I took the calculations more in depth by calculating the monthly and
yearly energy savings which can be depicted in the following page.
Energy Savings At Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport
Fluorescent Light (Light-Emitting
Incandescent Light Bulbs Bulbs) Diode Light Bulbs)
# of light bulbs 2,000 2,000 2,000
Estimated daily usage (hours) 15 15 15
Days in month 30 30 30
Savings over 60,000 hours (energy + replacement)
Total cost $942,000.00 $236,640.00 $159,100.00
Savings by switching from Incandescent $0.00 $705,360.00 $782,900.00
Monthly energy savings
KWh used per month 54,000 13,500 5,400
Electricity Cost (@ $0.11 per KWh) $5,940.00 $1,485.00 $594.00
Savings by switching from Incandescent $0.00 $4,455.00 $5,346.00
Yearly energy savings
KWh used per year 657,000 164,250 65,700
Electricity Cost (@ $0.11 per KWh) $72,270.00 $18,067.50 $7,227.00
Savings by switching from Incandescent $0.00 $54,202.50 $65,043.00
One flaw that I noticed in this model, is that it fails to take into account of the extra costs
that may incur from switching over from an Incandescent/CFL lighting system to an LED
lighting system. However, the CFL/LED light bulb that I came across on Amazon allowed the
simple replacement of just the light bulbs without the extra costs of creating a new light system.
In addition, the assumptions used in this model may not be the actual representation of the data
and would change actual cost savings amount. However, I believe this shows an accurate
representation of the cost savings that could be generated from switching over to CFL/LED
lighting with the current data.
The Change Towards Sustainability
In recent times, governments around the world have been in the process of phasing out
the use of incandescent bulbs so that it can strive towards the use of energy efficient lighting. For
instance, the E.U. is currently in the process of phasing out the incandescent light bulbs whereas
many countries such as the U.S., Argentina, and Canada are planning to phase out the use of
incandescent light bulbs sometimes in the future. In certain countries such as Brazil and
Australia, incandescent light bulbs have already been phased out.
If every single American replaced an incandescent light bulb to an energy efficient light
bulb, the amount of energy saved can provide enough electricity to approximately 2.5 million
homes in the U.S. This can help the prevention of emission of greenhouse gases which is
approximately 800,000 cars. New technologies have allowed businesses to be more sustainable
towards the environment while being able to reduce costs. An easy way to be save costs while
being environmentally friendly is the use of energy efficient lighting. Through my research
project, a clear example can be seen through the use of CFL/LED lighting, which will have a big
impact on the environment while leading to long term cost savings.
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