Reducing Our Power Usage, One Fixture at a Time (All 24,813 of Them!)

How do you reduce your annual use of electric power by 1.23 megawatt hours (MWH)? By changing out almost 25,000 light fixtures, one fixture at a time.

AA Energy efficient lighting saves money and energy.

The project started five years ago in collaboration with ONCOR, one of American’s major electric power providers. Deregulation had roiled the energy markets in Texas, and ONCOR established an incentive program called “Take a Load Off, Texas,” offering rebates for energy saving measures undertaken by businesses as well as consumers. The rebates, together with the potential savings in energy costs, offered an attractive, accelerated return on investment (ROI) in more efficient lighting at our headquarters campus in Fort Worth.

Starting with the main office buildings—covering two million conditioned square feet in all—our facilities maintenance mechanics worked with Sylvania Lighting to replace the old T-12 fluorescent lamps and magnetic ballasts with more efficient T-8 fluorescent lamps and electronic ballast. Then they did the same at American’s Flight Training Academy, Training Conference Center, and Southern Reservations Office.

Pre- and post-project audits by ONCOR showed that the savings, in energy and dollars, were terrific. The numbers tell the story (see box).

But the story doesn’t end there. We also retrofitted the two multi-story parking garages at American headquarters—some 1700 light fixtures in all—with super-efficient LED bulbs. At the time, it was one of the largest installations of LED lighting in the United States. The new lights consume 60 percent less energy and last 50,000 hours or three times longer than traditional light sources. Because it produces a clean white light in place of the old yellow-tinted ambiance of incandescent bulbs, the new LED lighting has also been a hit with employees and visitors.

Now, we’re evaluating the lighting at the above-ground headquarters parking lots. If the ROI is right, we plan to replace the existing fixtures with up-to-date LED “shoebox” lights, which offer a potential reduction of energy consumption per fixture from 400 watts to 80 watts—a whopping 80 percent. As we’ve seen, even modest reductions in energy per fixture, multiplied by thousands of fixtures, add up to big impacts!

As the fixtures add up, so do the savings (in energy and dollars)

HDQ site 1
  • Number of fixtures converted:  7,905
  • Annual KW saved:  390 (45%)
  • Annual financial savings:  $105,973.
HDQ site 2
  • Number of fixtures converted:  6,839
  • Annual KW saved:  392 (50%)
  • Annual financial savings:  $98,622.
Flight Training Academy
  • Number of fixtures converted:  4,217
  • Annual KW saved:  254 (49.7%)
  • Annual financial savings:  $99,439.
Training Conference Center
  • Number of fixtures converted:  4,450
  • Annual KW saved:  132 (33%)
  • Annual financial savings:  $74,708.
Southern Reservations Office
  • Number of fixtures converted:  1,402
  • Annual KW saved:  61.5 (49%)
  • Annual financial savings:  $55,289