Resurrection Health Care, which comprises six acute care hospitals and several other medical and professional office buildings in the Chicago area, is saving an estimated $900,000 annually, thanks to a lighting retrofit that included several key business partners who contributed to the project's success.

Resurrection has cut nearly 9 million kilowatt-hours in annual energy use because of the lighting retrofit, says Wayne Gelman, contract administrator, Resurrection Health Care. Maintenance, repair and operations market distributor Grainger, Lake Forest, Ill., played an important role in a partnership with Resurrection that also included GE Lighting, East Cleveland, Ohio, and Commonwealth Edison Co. (ComEd), Chicago.

Over a three-year period, Resurrection replaced inefficient T12 lamps and electromagnetic ballasts with energy-efficient F28 T8 lamps and electronic ballasts from GE Lighting, a key supplier for Grainger, and new reflectors from Lithonia Lighting, Conyers, Ga., Gelman says.

Lamps were installed by contractor MAC Solutions Inc., Lansing, Ill., in high-use common areas throughout the six hospitals and several other buildings where lighting was on 24 hours a day.

ComEd made the $1.7 million project financially feasible for Resurrection by giving it $540,000 in rebates through its Smart Ideas for Business energy-efficiency rebate program. That dropped the project's final cost to Resurrection to $1.1 million, Gelman says.

Gelman credits Diane Valek, health care account manager, Grainger, for educating the health system about the po­tential benefits of a lighting retrofit and ComEd's Smart Ideas energy rebate program.

Valek says because lighting is an energy-intensive part of any hospital operation, it was only natural to inform Resurrection about the merits of replacing its inefficient T12 lamps with GE's F28 T8s. "We realized they were using old-style lighting. Technology was better and there was a big opportunity for savings in energy costs if they were to upgrade," she says.

The project launched a few years ago after Grainger and GE Lighting conducted a lighting energy audit to determine the potential payback for a retrofit, says Larry Latas, system director of properties, Resurrection Health Care. As part of the audit, Grainger and GE checked the status of lights throughout the health care system's facilities, Valek says.

A clinching factor in pur­suing the project was the anticipated one-year return on investment to retrofit lights in St. Francis Hospital, Evanston, Ill., which served as the pilot facility, Gelman says. Once that proved successful, the project was expanded to the other hospitals and most buildings in the system.

Jim Dobosz, lead account manager, GE Lighting, who worked with Valek on the project, says that it was important that Resurrection officials understood that not only would they reduce their energy bill, but the facilities would have upgraded lighting, too.

In several instances GE replaced 74-watt and higher T12 lamps with 44-watt F28 T8 lamps due in part to adding reflector kits to the fixtures, he says. The average projected 30,000-hour life of the lamps is 50 percent greater than the T12 lamps that were replaced.

Resurrection is pursuing other energy-efficiency strategies with Grainger. The health care system projects energy cost savings of $558,000 after recently installing variable-frequency drives in buildings throughout the health system, Latas says.