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Metro Airport to install LED lighting in parking structures

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Incandescent light inside a Metro Airport parking deck Incandescent light inside a Metro Airport parking deck

Before you fly the friendly skies, chances are you will make a stop at one of Metro Airport's parking structures where more than 6,000 incandescent lights burn 24 hours a day.

That is expensive and not exactly energy efficient. The existing lights only last about 13 months at a time.

Director of Infrastructure Engineering Ali Dib said the airport is about to change all of the parking structure lights to LEDs with a life span of ten years.

Rauhorn Electric of Macomb won the $6.2 million contract, which is expected to cut the airport's parking deck lighting costs from $1.2 million a year to $454,000.

"We believe the technology is mature enough now to allow us to do a conversion, which will improve our lighting conditions and still consumes 66 percent less energy," Dib said.

The project will not just save energy and money. It will also increase lighting. They will nearly double the number of lights in the Blue Deck, and some will be smart lights that dim in bright, sunny conditions when they are not needed.

Years of testing and studies were done leading up to the decision.

When all is said and done, the airport expects to save enough energy to power 880 homes for a year and keep thousands of tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, the equivalent of taking more than 1,300 cars off the road.

"We're always looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprints, to be more efficient," Dib said. "All in all, the project has a lot of advantages. It's one of the largest conversion projects in the nation."

We were told the lights will be replaced in phases, and work will not be scheduled during busy travel times.

The project is expected to be completed by September 2014.

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