We are consistently told that energy saving is good for cost saving, but sometimes it’s hard to imagine how much it can really impact your business.
All the Fun of the Fair
At Castle Fun Park, a family-owned amusement park in Abbotsford, lighting is a critical part of what they do to create ambience and of course for safety. With around 10 acres of land dedicated to providing ‘clean, safe fun’ the owners rely heavily on quality lighting throughout the park to ensure that parents feel their kids are safe.
However, the cost of lighting does not come cheap. When joining the team as director of operations five years ago, Brandon Bahris chose to examine energy efficient options for the park to see what savings could be made.
Choosing the Right Type of Light: CFL or LED?
Bahris started by replacing old inefficient fluorescent fixtures with energy efficient ones and introducing energy-saving LED (light emitting diode) exit signs. A great start, but that still left him with hundreds of traditional incandescent bulbs across the rest of the park.
"When looking at the options, we saw that compact fluorescents offer a significant improvement in energy usage, but it was hard to get beyond some of the drawbacks," says Bahris, citing potential damage of lights by rambunctious kids as key to his decision to opt instead for LED lights.
"As an example, on our three mini-golf courses it's not uncommon to see a few broken bulbs," he says. " Compact fluorescents are just as delicate as traditional light bulbs, but carry with them a significant increase in price: often between 10 and 20 dollars a bulb.
Bahris therefore decided to use LEDs, but the costs were still too much for the park to consider. He then found out about BC Hydro’s new incentives for LEDs.
"We had known it was the right thing to do for some time, and with BC Hydro's generous rebate program, it became an impossibility to disregard changing lights any further," he says.
1,500 bulbs later, $19,000 in annual savings
To date, Castle Fun Park has replaced around 1,500 incandescent and halogen lamps with LEDs. Something that could not have been done had it not been for the incentives the park received through BC Hydro and LiveSmart BC.
The upgrade of these lights qualified for $48,000 in incentives (including a 10% additional incentive from LiveSmart BC) and has to date saved the park an estimated $19,000 per year on their electricity bill.
These savings are now helping the park to grow their operations, adding more games and attractions since the upgrades.
Why LEDs Work for Castle Fun Park
The cost saving has not been limited to the electricity bills. With LED lights lasting 25,000 to 50,000 hours, compared to 800 to 2,000 hours for traditional light bulbs, the park is also saving on maintenance costs.
"The longevity is there, it's got a remarkable energy footprint, we have dimmability, there's no mercury, and the bulbs for the most part are very hardy – they're not impervious to damage but they stand up to abuse a great deal more than the mere touch that seems to break a compact fluorescent or an incandescent." says Bahris. "So everything that it offered was part and parcel of what we were looking for in this business."