The Library has made the switch to energy-efficient cost-reducing LED lighting throughout the building. This investment will yield long-term benefits for our community.

by Mark Riffle, Technical Services Supervisor

LED bulb

For 28 years, one thing has been sure and steady: walk in the Library—and the lights are on. What you might not know is that those lights have made leaps and bounds in efficiency. And in 2019, we’ve taken a huge step in saving dollars, saving energy, and reducing the Library’s carbon footprint.

When planning upgrades, we’re guided both by advances in technology and by financial returns on investment, when upfront costs can yield long-term savings. We’re also motivated to support our community of readers who value the green economy as part of our shared future.

Over the years, we’ve migrated from those large-diameter high-wattage fluorescent tubes (1990s), to smaller lower-wattage tubes (2000s), to the latest and greatest new technology: energy-efficient LED lighting.

In your home, transitioning to an LED light can be as simple as replacing single bulbs in non-connected fixtures. But in a commercial-sized building like the Library—it’s more complicated. In 2019, a facility-wide Library upgrade was made possible by: 1) cost reductions of the fixtures, and 2) rebate grants from our partners at Platte River Power Authority.

Here are a few of the remarkable benefits:

The new LED fixtures at the Library spare thousands of watts in electricity compared to their predecessors, substantially reducing overall consumption.

That translates to a big cost savings. Combining energy savings and grants, we project the cost savings to be $33,000 over the next five years. Add to that the further savings of longer-lasting units and reduced maintenance costs.

LED lights offer new features. One of those is dimmable switches. This will enhance the experience in meeting spaces, with lighting easily adjustable for audio-visual presentations.

Unlike those old fluorescents, which lost brightness with each day of use, modern LED lights give full and reliable brightness immediately when turned on.

The components of LED bulbs are sturdier than the old fluorescents. They’re less fragile and easier to transport. That brings us to another—and perhaps most important benefit: a cleaner technology.

Up until now, the Library has been discarding hundreds of bulbs, each of them containing mercury. For that reason, used bulbs had to be carefully packaged and shipped, at great expense, to a certified disposal company.

Today’s LEDs are not only non-toxic, they last twice as long as fluorescents. This means less time purchasing bulbs, less time climbing ladders, less time discarding old bulbs. We reduce dollars spent; we reduce energy use; we reduce maintenance hours.

You get the idea: these days, LEDs are the way to go. If you haven’t already made the switch at home or work, we hope the Library’s recent strides may inspire you to investigate this innovative technology. Visit to learn about the rebates that are available for both businesses and for your home.

Lighting upgrades are just one way that the Library is working to serve you by being responsible stewards of resources—financially and ecologically