August 17, 2015 — A project on the eastern end of the Upper Peninsula is shining a spotlight on cost-saving innovations for Michigan highways.
In a $175,000 Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) project, energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lighting was installed at the US-2/I-75 interchange and at the St. Ignace Welcome Center just north of the Mackinac Bridge.
Work began last October, and following a winter break finished up this June.
On Wednesday, Aug. 12, the project was recognized with a $17,757.30 rebate check from Cloverland Electric Cooperative’s Energy Optimization program. The rebate program gives incentives to Michigan businesses and homeowners to help offset the cost of energy efficiency upgrades. Energy efficiency programs are starting to have a big impact regionwide.
“Our Energy Optimization program offers some great energy efficiency rebates for our members,” said Cloverland Electric Cooperative President and CEO Dan Dasho. “Last year, our commercial program processed more than 5,200 rebate applications, resulting in energy savings of about 5.3 million kilowatt-hours.”
Senior Transportation Technician Reza Zolfaghari accepted the rebate check on behalf of MDOT.
“We would like to thank Cloverland Electric for their partnership with MDOT on this investment,” Zolfaghari said. “It was a very important project for us, since the energy optimization cost savings will offset the total cost of the project in about six years.”
According to Chris Rupinski, construction engineer at MDOTs Newberry Transportation Service Center (TSC), the project involved removing 103 old luminaires from the interchange light towers and replacing them with 56 new LED tower luminaires. Additionally, crews installed 16 new Welcome Center, median and roadway LED luminaires. The new lighting system will provide better visibility for drivers at a lower cost.
“Metal halide bulbs on the interchange poles were replaced with energy efficient LEDs,” Rupinski explained, “Lights were retrofitted on existing poles, so the overall cost was reduced as well.”
The LED upgrade will result in annual energy savings of 262,000 kWh per year, which translates to approximately $26,000 per year in energy cost savings for Michigan taxpayers.
“The upgrade to LED lighting at this interchange will save a great deal of energy and money in Michigan, while improving the state’s infrastructure,” said Art Thayer, director of energy efficiency programs for the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association. “This project is a perfect example of how the Energy Optimization program helps make energy-efficient technologies available and affordable on a limited budget. We look forward to completing more of these upgrades across the state.”
In addition to the US-2/I-75 interchange project, MDOT has LED projects completed or underway at the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge and the Mackinac Bridge. LED lighting is also being incorporated into future designs, like the 2016 Ishpeming roundabout project.
For more information on the Energy Optimization program visit www.michigan-energy.org. If your utility isn’t on the list of participating service providers, try contacting them directly.