Central Falls Calcutt Middle School replaces aging fluorescent lights with new LEDs at zero cost

At 1.29 square miles, with over 22,500 people, Central Falls is the smallest, most densely populated city in Rhode Island. It is also the only majority Hispanic community in the state. In 2021, the city unveiled its new brand and slogan, “Diversity That Inspires,” recognizing its rich cultural heritage.

Built in 1976, the Central Falls Calcutt Middle School, serves over 700 students in grades 5-8. The school was using older fluorescent lights and was overdue for an upgrade to newer LED smart lights.

Calcutt Middle School took advantage of a brand-new State program called the School LED Lighting Accelerator, which provides lighting, and other energy upgrades, free of charge to schools. In total, the school replaced 1,032 light fixtures in classrooms, hallways, the cafeteria, library, gym and other areas.

Lighting is critically important, not just for energy cost savings, but also for safety and the quality of the learning environment for students and teachers. Better lighting makes it easier to concentrate and improves mood and motivation. Furthermore, the LEDs each come with sensors to adjust to the changing natural light conditions throughout the day, dimming when there is adequate sunlight and automatically brightening when the sun is hidden.

By using the School LED Lighting Accelerator program, Calcutt Middle School received $282,513 ($198,828 from the Office of Energy Resources and $83,685 from National Grid) worth of lighting upgrades at zero cost to school department.

As a result, the school is expected to lower its energy use by 129,119 kWh per year which is equal to $21,304 in saved energy costs per year. Additionally, the new lights will also save the school $14,378 in maintenance costs, resulting in a combined estimated annual savings of $35,682!

“We are thrilled with the School LED Lighting Accelerator program. The application was easy and we received expert technical support from the Office of Energy Resources. I would highly recommend this to any school that needs a lighting upgrade and instant energy savings," said Rory Marty, Director of Operations & Safety, Central Falls School Dept.

For more information about the School LED Lighting Accelerator program, please contact George Sfinarolakis (george.sfinarolakis@energy.ri.gov) or Nathan Cleveland (nathan.cleveland@energy.ri.gov) of the R.I. Office of Energy Resources.