Local Public Power Brings Experts Together

H&H is doing a brisk business upgrading electric equipment in Springfield. Matt Horkey, H&H’s owner, said his biggest project in 2018 was completely retrofitting lighting in the city’s Salonek Professional Building, which houses an Anytime Fitness studio, an eye clinic, and a dental clinic. His team installed over 300 fixtures there.

“The building’s lighting was becoming an operational problem,” Matt recalled. “The maintenance costs were rising because the property manager was replacing a lot of lighting ballasts. And, once a fluorescent lighting tube was replaced, there were special environmental regulations regarding its disposal.”

Matt’s team replaced hundreds of traditional fluorescent fixtures with advanced light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures. The new LED lamps are expected to last for at least 10 years, when it comes time for replacement, they do not require stringent disposal regulations because they do not contain mercury.

Besides their longer lives, the new LED fixtures generate brighter light using only a fraction of electricity used by fluorescent lighting.

“When a building installs new, higher-quality lighting, customers start to ask about the carpet,” Matt said with a laugh. “The visitors start saying, Isn’t it time for some new carpet? The old carpet is starting to look pretty-faded.”

Matt’s team is one of several contractors upgrading the efficiency of lighting and cooling in Springfield, collaborating with Energy Insight. Over the last two years, Margit Barot, an Energy Insight energy engineer, estimated that 18 upgrade projects have saved businesses about $1,000 on their annual electric bills.

Another project completed in 2018 was upgrading the lighting for the Springfield Community Center, It was long past due for a lighting technology upgrade that would brighten the facility and enhance the property’s safety and value. Although replacing the interior three-lamp ballasts with high output LEDs was the impetus for the project, it was decided to replace the exterior lighting as well, which generated a lot of positive comments from users of the facility.

For the busy facility users, the new high-pressure LED lights greatly enhance exterior visibility and safety, particularly during the long evening hours that prevail in Minnesota for two to four months of the year. As the electrical contractor on the project, Matt wanted to maintain the building’s popularity in the community and maximize the energy savings of the entire complex.

Working with Scott and Margit, Matt was able to incorporate utility lighting rebates that made it possible to look beyond the interior to the exterior of the building as well.