The difference won't be day and night, but replacing hundreds of lights at the Libertyville Sports Complex is expected to produce a better environment for athletes and cut energy bills.
"We'll have savings and the lighting will be comparable if not better than what we have," said Conrad "Connie" Kowal, recreation and Sports Complex director.
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Replacing 385 metal haloid fixtures that illuminate the main playing area of the sprawling complex with energy efficient fluorescent lighting will save an estimated $22,625 per year in power costs.
Even better for the village is that it will not be responsible for any out-of-pocket costs. The work will be paid through grants secured from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
"It basically costs us nothing to lower the cost," said John Spoden, community development director.
The village board this past week approved a contract of $50,281 for materials to Century Electric Supply Company of Libertyville and for $51,713 for installation to Jasco Electric Corporation of McHenry, the low bidders.
Libertyville is one of nine communities, including Fox River Grove, Island Lake and Lindenhurst in Lake County, that shared in about $1 million in grants for similar work. The communities worked with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, which handles the funds on behalf of the state agency.
The new program provides grants to municipalities for energy use upgrades, according to Michael Stanch, energy solutions manager for 360 Energy Group LLC.
"Most of the municipalities don't have the extra staff or time to do this," said Stanch, whose company analyzed various facilities as part of the grant program. "You're saving a lot of energy, helping the villages and also village residents because they're paying the bills."
Most communities don't have the available funds to pursue such projects on their own, he added.
In Libertyville, the new fixtures will be installed sometime this spring. Visitors should notice much better light quality and more uniform distribution, Stanch said.
"The metal haloid fixtures are inherently inefficient," he said.
About $705,000 of the total grant funding comes from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, established as an independent entity by ComEd to promote energy efficiency. The foundation is funded by ComEd customers through a charge on monthly bills.
"Everybody pays into it but not everybody takes advantage of it," Stanch said.