LEDs highlight of first meeting

The members of the nascent Cayman Islands Facilities Management Association stepped into the bright lights of Camana Bay to learn about new LED technology and its potential to slash electricity use. 

The gathering Wednesday, 30 May, was the inaugural membership meeting for the association. The group’s is new and its nonprofit application, being prepared by Maples and Calders pro bono, has yet to be considered by the Cayman Islands government. Also, its chapter application isn’t set to be considered by the US-based International Facilities Management Association until later this month. 

Still, about 30 people convened to hear a presentation by Chip Ogilvie, senior manager of operations and maintenance at Dart Realty (Cayman), about Camana Bay’s experience with LED light technology, which the development began embracing the beginning of the year. 



Association President Richard Sanfilippo, who is government’s facilities manager, said the purpose of the group is to provide opportunities to learn from peers about best practices, and also to demonstrate to younger residents that facilities management can be an 
attractive career option. 

“We want to expose a generation of Caymanians to the idea that facilities can be a career path,” Mr. Sanfilippo said. 

He said Camana Bay and the new Government Administration Building are two ‘beacons’ in Cayman’s world of facilities, and they offer ideas and examples for other residents in facilities management roles. 

The association’s next meeting is 28 June at the government building. The topic will be alternative energy. 


LED technology 

During the meeting, members heard from Mr. Ogilvie about new LED lights at Camana Bay, had a chance to talk to LED light vendors on site, and toured two spaces in Camana Bay that are using LED lights. 

LEDs, which stands for light-emitting diodes, are electronic sources of light (perhaps most familiar in digital watches and cell phone screens) that use less electricity and create less heat than conventional incandescent bulbs or compact fluorescent lights. 

“The older generation LEDs were unreliable,” Mr. Ogilvie said. 

The light output declined rapidly, and lumen levels (the brightness of the light) were poor. Recently, however, LED technology has grown by leaps and bounds. 

“Three years ago they were pretty useless,” he said. “Now they’re pretty decent.” 

The brightness and reliability of LED lights is getting better and better, he said. 

“We’re getting more bang for our buck in terms of this technology,” Mr. Ogilvie said. 

Even though LEDs continue to improve in quality and price, the savings that can be achieved are already significant. “Waiting for the science may not make sense because the paybacks are so quick,” he said. 

Mr. Ogilvie thinks CFLs still have their place, and that LEDs may not be the best choice for lights that operate only intermittently, for example, in closets and on motion-activated security lights. 

For lights that are kept on 12 to 24 hours a day, however, LEDs offer advantages such as reduced energy consumption, reduced maintenance costs (because they have a longer life than incandescent or CFLs), and less heat generated (so less air-conditioning needed). 


LEDs at Camana Bay 

At Camana Bay, elevators, common area lobbies, the Observation Tower and Discovery Centre have all been outfitted with LED lights, bringing a projected energy savings of 80-88 per cent compared with the previous lighting. The garages are next on the list to be converted to LED lighting. 

Mr. Ogilvie shared two case studies to demonstrate the monetary savings achieved by LED lights at Camana Bay. 

The cost to install LED lighting in the Discovery Centre was nearly $9,300. The annual energy savings amounts to nearly $17,700, meaning it will take six months for the LED project to pay for itself. Mr. Ogilvie noted that the projection was based on the LED lights running at 100 per cent power, whereas in practice the lights are actually being run at 35 per cent power. 

The cost to install LED lighting in Block 8 and its common areas was nearly $4,300. The annual energy savings amounts to about $29,700, meaning the payback period is less than two months. Those savings don’t include reductions in maintenance requirements. 

Mr. Ogilvie said, of the electricity savings, about 80 per cent to 85 per cent is from less energy being needed to power the lights, and the rest is due to reduced loads on the air-conditioning system because LEDs don’t generate much heat compared with other lighting options. 

He presented a graph comparing the costs of incandescent, CFL and LED bulbs over the lifetime of a single LED bulb. For his calculations, he set the usable lifetime of an incandescent bulb at 2,500 hours, a CFL at 10,000 hours, and an LED at 30,000 hours. 

In summary, an incandescent bulb, with a purchase price of $1, costs $1,137 to operate for 30,000 hours. A CFL bulb, with a purchase price of $6, costs $208. An LED bulb, with a purchase price of $34, costs $146. 

“There’s a little more expense up front, but look at the energy savings,” Mr. Ogilvie said. 


Cayman Islands Facilities Management Association members look at LED lights in Pandora in Camana Bay. – Photo: Patrick Brendel