Supervisors discuss lighting for courthouse
The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors met with Bob Gaal, a representative from Sitler’s LED Supplies and Mahaska County Sheriff Paul DeGeest today, to discuss the possibility of upgrading lighting at the county courthouse.
DeGeest began the presentation with a testimony about his experiences after upgrading the Mahaska County Law Center with LED lighting from Sitler’s.
“We installed LED lighting a year ago,” DeGeest said, adding that MidAmerican Energy provided a rebate.
“I included a random bill … we saved about $16.20 per day in electricity,” DeGeest said. “Everybody absolutely loves the lighting … we got on board with Sitler’s a few months ago … and I’m very passionate about it.”
Supervisor Dick Reed inquired about the ballasts, which regulate the current to lights and provide voltage for starting them.
“They get more fire calls because of the ballasts smoking in the commercial world,” Reed said, adding that he didn’t know if that was a fact, but it appeared to be the case.
“We bypass the ballast,” Gaal said, adding the county could opt to leave the ballasts in or take them out.
Gaal said if the ballasts were left in, it would cost around 10 percent more energy for lighting.
Gaal told the supervisors that the cost of outfitting the entire courthouse would be a little more than $11,000, but with more than a $3000 rebate, the out-of-pocket expense would be just over $7,000.
With the installation of the new lighting, Gaal projected that the county would start seeing around $2,500 savings per year.
“In a minimum of three years, you’ll start seeing a return on the investment of 35 percent,” he said. “You’re not going to find anywhere that you can invest your money and get a 35 percent return.”
“We just put it on the agenda to discuss it so that the board would have a little time to digest it and decide what we want to do,” Reed said.
Supervisor Becky Schmitz asked Gaal how soon work could begin if the Sitler’s were hired to do the job.
“If approved we could get them in in two weeks, with a two or three day installation,” he said. “I’ll be on site as well. This is something that I enjoy doing, getting my hands dirty.”
Reed said some county employees had complained of the lighting being too bright in their offices.
Terri Kness said that some of her staff complained of headaches from the current lighting.
Gaal said the LED lights would be similar to the natural light outside or the lighting inside of the supervisors’ office.
Reed said currently, the only proposal for the LED lighting was for the courthouse offices, but if the board were to approve the proposal, he asked Gaal if he would speak with all of the department heads to assess their needs.