Posted on: July 15, 2011

Our Switch to LED Lighting To Save 131,156 Pounds of CO2 Per Year

Pacific Whale Foundation has switched 246 conventional lights to energy-efficient LED lighting in its Ocean Stores in Ma’alaea and Lahaina and associated administrative offices this summer, a move that will cut the organization’s energy use by 78,537 kilowatt hours per year and prevent 131,156 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually.

The LED light bulbs were provided free to Pacific Whale Foundation through Hawaii Energy’s “Lighting the Future” program, which works to encourage energy conservation and efficiency measures throughout the small business and nonprofit communities to reduce Hawaii's dependence on imported oil. The measures include switching to energy-saving LED lighting technology. Through a competitive bidding process, Hawaii Energy had selected Toshiba as its partner in providing this offering to qualifying Hawaii small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

LED light bulbs reduce lighting electricity costs by up to 75%, reports Hawaii Energy. The energy savings per year for each halogen bulb replaced by an LED bulb can equal about $78.

Toshiba reports that LED bulbs can last up to 40 times longer than incandescents which reduces landfill waste. The LED lights installed at Pacific Whale Foundation don't contain lead or mercury, and are manufactured using recycled/recyclable materials.

Because LED lamps emit up to 70% less UV light than halogens, they cause less damage to the objects they illuminate. They also generate less heat, which will help to further reduce Pacific Whale Foundation’s energy needs, by reducing air-conditioning requirements.

Pacific Whale Foundation expects to save about $50,000 per year with the new lights. “It’s a win-win for the environment and for Pacific Whale Foundation,” says Tapani Vuori, Regional Manager and Retail Buyer at Pacific Whale Foundation. “Because our Ocean Stores raise money for our research, education and conservation programs, this cost reduction step should equate to greater funds for these programs.”

“As an organization, Pacific Whale Foundation is always looking for ways to become greener and more energy efficient,” says Greg Kaufman, President of Pacific Whale Foundation. He notes that when Pacific Whale Foundation moved into new administrative offices and a new research lab several years ago, the management team chose to purchase LED lights – a total of 176 bulbs – to save energy in the new offices. “The light bulb choice in the new offices has been saving us 45,408 kwh per year, which is a total carbon offset was 73,560 pounds per year,” says Kaufman. 

In all, the LED lights in the administrative offices and stores will save 123,944 kwh per year. The total CO2 offset will be 200,789 pounds per year.

“All of that is achieved by a simple light bulb change,” says Vuori.

Other green features in Pacific Whale Foundation’s offices include flooring made from cork (a renewable resource), VOC-free paints, a waterless urinal and low flow toilets, and a filtered water tap so that water cooler deliveries or purchases of bottled plastic water are no longer required. Employees are provided financial incentives to take the bus to work or to purchase hybrid vehicles. Some staff are allowed to skip commuting and telecommute to work on select days. All of Pacific Whale Foundation’s staff are encouraged to use the organization’s washable plates and cups when purchasing “take out” food for lunch. The organization purchases unbleached toilet paper made from recycled paper, plastic-free bags made from corn starch and eco-friendly cleaning products for daily use.

On Pacific Whale Foundation’s Eco-Adventure vessels, high efficiency, low emissions engines help to reduce energy use. Pacific Whale Foundation participates in the Kleen Oil Filter program, which involves lab testing of engine oil to pinpoint when oil needs to be changed. In most cases, oil changes are less frequently needed, which results in less oil consumed and less oil being disposed. Pacific Whale Foundation also uses plastic-free, tree-free cups, plates and utensils made of biodegradable/compostable materials. To reduce its carbon footprint, Pacific Whale Foundation also purchases and serves food that is locally grown and produced, to avoid shipping items thousands of miles to Maui. Some of the food products served on Pacific Whale Foundation’s Eco-Adventures include Maui Cattle Co. beef, sustainably caught mahi-mahi, local tropical fruits, vegetables and taro, plus Maui Brewing Co. beer.

The United States Coast Guard recently awarded Pacific Whale Foundation its William M.Benkert Marine Environmental Bronze Award for Excellence, an award given to members of the Marine Industry that have demonstrated sustained excellence and outstanding achievement in protecting the marine environment. Pacific Whale Foundation won the "Investing in the Environment" Award from Island Business Magazine in 1988, for its many eco-friendly innovations and practices. Last fall, Pacific Whale Foundation received a Hero of Agriculture, Food and Environment Award by the Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawaii, as an “An Environmental Supporter Who Does Their Work with Excellence.”

“Our corporate culture encourages staff to step forward with their conservation and energy saving ideas,” says Kaufman. “Tapani Vuori spearheaded the move to the LED lights. Other staff have helped us find other ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Being more eco-friendly is an extremely important focus at Pacific Whale Foundation.”

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Photo caption:

Pacific Whale Foundation employee Tara McBarnett replaces an old halogen bulbs with a new energy efficient LED light bulbs at Pacific Whael Foundation's Ocean Store in Ma'alaea.