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LED Retrofit Kits Helping College Campus Cut Costs

November 22, 2016 | Customer Success | Lighting


Even the facility managers at Palmer College of Chiropractic know the importance of a good adjustment. That’s why they reached out to Tri-City Electric Co. and Van Meter Inc. when they realized lighting was of out of alignment with current technology on their Davenport, IA, campus. That's when Van Meter lighting specialists suggested installing high-efficiency, easy-to-install LED retrofit kits.




Palmer College had more than 1,000 fixtures containing T12 fluorescent lamps and ballasts, which the U.S. Department of Energy has legislated against due to their inefficiency.

With this technology no longer being produced, Senior Director of Facilities for Palmer College, Earl Wilfong, wanted to make sure the students weren’t left in the dark. “Light quality is a very important issue, especially on campuses. You’ve got to have a nice atmosphere for your students to learn in.”

With class always in session, and rebates available through MidAmerican Energy about to expire, Wilfong needed everything to come together quickly and go off without a hitch. So, he called on some trusted friends. “Having worked with Tri-City Electric and Van Meter in the past, I was excited about working with them again on this project. Chad Minch and Brad Engleking from Tri-City Electric partnered with Lighting Specialist Bob Workman at Van Meter. I knew they would be able to meet our deadline. I lost no sleep over this project at all.”

led retrofit kits


Van Meter Lighting Specialist, Bob Workman, suggested replacing the out-of-date lighting with high-efficiency, easy-to-install Litetronics magnetic LED and Philips Evokit LED retrofit kits. “Bob was great,” said Mike Gehlsen, Facilities Maintenance Manager for Palmer College. He came in, took the bull by the horns, sat down and suggested different types of fixtures to us.”


led retrofit kits
The Philips EvoKit processes 110 lumens of light per watt, powerful enough to replace fluorescent troffers while consuming significantly less energy. It comes in 2’x4’ and 2’x2’ sizes, fitting both narrow and standard T-grids.

Philips EvoKit LED Retrofit Kits - Animated Installation Video


The EvoKit was equipped with SpaceWise control, which allows light outputs to be set with a remote control. “What we really like is the fact you can set these fixtures at four different levels,” Gehlsen said. “Whether they’re too bright or too dim, it’s very simple to go and reset these fixtures.”

Bob, and the rest of the lighting team at Van Meter, helped Wilfong and Gehlsen calculate projected energy savings and helped them file paperwork for the rebates. “Van Meter came in, did the audit, suggested the savings we would find with the fixtures we chose, and then projected out the energy costs, the incentives, and so on,” said Gehlsen.

“If we've got a customer that’s interested in LED retrofit kits . . . we can offer a turnkey operation with a local contractor, and in this case we partnered with Tri-City Electric,” explained Randy Childers, one of Van Meter’s lighting experts who assisted on the project.

“We installed 1,100 fixtures in four buildings and in about three weeks time,” explained Wilfong. “We only had about three fixtures that didn’t work out of the 1,100, and Tri-City came back, made a few adjustments and fixes, and we were up and running.”


Now that the LED retrofit kits are installed, everyone at Palmer is reaping the reward. Light quality has been significantly improved, and maintenance and energy costs have been drastically reduced.

“We spent a lot of money every year on light bulbs,” said Gehlsen. “The maintenance end of this is unbelievable as far as the savings.” Wilfong couldn’t believe the quick payback. “The total cost of the project was right at $300,000. The incentive from MidAmerican was around $100,000. Payback was looking at 3.3 years. Normally, I look for something about five years out. This was 3.3. It was a no-brainer.”

“Van Meter and Tri-City were able to work with the college schedule and get things done without professors or students calling and complaining about noise,” Wilfong said. “The project went very smooth.”

“Having worked with Tri-City Electric and Van Meter in the past, I was excited about working with them again on this project. I knew they would be able to meet our deadline. I lost no sleep over this project at all.”
- Earl Wilfong

Van Meter Inc. provides expert advice in the selection and design of LED retrofit kit solutions and more. We welcome your call to discuss your next project. To speak with a Van Meter representative, call 1-800-247-1410. We’ll quickly connect you with the person or information you need.

 Case Study (PDF)

Palmer College was founded in 1897 in Davenport, IA. Today, there are also campuses in San Jose, CA, and Port Orange, FL. For well over a century the school has been educating students to become primary care professionals for those seeking to improve the quality of their life without drugs or surgery.

Tri-City Electric Co. is one of the most trusted electrical contractors in the United States, bringing more than 120 years of experience to the table. With a team of more than 1,200 skilled employees, it has the capacity to handle any electrical project. While primarily serving Iowa and Illinois, Tri-City has lent its expertise to projects across the country.

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