DC Industries Upgrading T-8 Fixtures


Partnered with Camp Courageous


Camp Courageous Dining Hall


Cost Savins x2 by Ben Kvigne, Area 3

In December 2015, the Area 3 Iowa Waste Exchange Resource Specialist, Ben Kvigne, was contacted by Jim Olson of the Iowa Waste Reduction Center at University of Northern Iowa, regarding a company that needed assistance with used fluorescent light tubes. DC Industries of Waterloo, Iowa had just finished upgrading the lighting inside their facility to increase efficiency. They had removed all the existing T-8 florescent tubes from the fixtures and installed new LED tubes.

DC Industries was established in 1994 as a metal stress-relieving operation as part of the metal casting industry. They have grown to 30 employees and now specialize in Computerized Numerical Control machining, assembling, and testing components to specifications. They are an “ISO 9000: 2008 Certified” company that is committed to customer satisfaction though continuous improvement.

They are enjoying the benefits of converting from the T-8s to LED.T-8 fluorescent fixtures were considered very efficient lighting in the recent past. Currently, however, some electrical providers have been offering rebates and other incentives to encourage their larger customers to convert to LED lighting. LEDs have a lifespan that can last up to six times longer than fluorescent. They also burn much cooler, meaning more energy is being used for light rather than being wasted as heat. This results in significant energy savings. According to one employee at DC Industries, the LED lighting uses less than half the electricity of T-8 fluorescents, and also creates a brighter working environment for their employees. Without incentives, converting to LED can be quite costly and may be hard to justify.

Re-lamping is often a simple task, allowing the use of the same fixtures and in some cases the same ballasts, by just changing out the tubes. As a result, DC Industries had approximately 1,000 slightly used tubes to give away to someone that could reuse them.

The tubes were listed in the December 2015 edition of the IWE Area 3 newsletter “North Eastern Exchange”. One non-profit organization, Camp Courageous of Monticello, Iowa, saw the potential for cost savings, and was quick to ask for more details. The camp made arrangements with DC Industries, and was able to pick up all the tubes to have on hand as replacements.

Camp Courageous was founded in 1972 when 40 acres of land were donated to establish a camp for the disabled. The following year 5 buildings were built with donated labor and materials. In 1974, they hosted their first guests, totaling 211 campers. Today the year-round camp hosts up to 7,000 campers annually, and has served individuals with disabilities ranging from age 1 to 105.

Camp Courageous now owns approximately 200 acres of land, with the camp occupying 150 acres. There are 16 buildings, a medical services facility, a gymnasium, barn yard area, a small railroad, swimming pools, walking trails, camping areas, a zip line, and much more. As one could imagine, with all of these amenities comes a significant amount of maintenance. Like most non-profit camps, Camp Courageous relies on donations, volunteers, and limited staff to meet their needs so they can focus on the needs of others.

Camp Courageous is constructing a pavilion planned to open in 2016. This will be a gathering place where campers can enjoy lunches, a view of the lake, and a game of bowling in the lower level bowling alley. The new building will have LED lighting installed, but there are no plans to convert the existing buildings to LED lighting.

DC Industries was glad to help out the camp by donating the T-8 tubes for the older buildings. When DC Industries removed the old tubes from the fixtures, they carefully placed them into boxes which were then secured on a pallet as seen in the picture to the left. This made it easy for Camp Courageous to safely haul and store the tubes. Volunteers from the camp quickly picked up the pallet of tubes to get it out of the way of the daily operation of the business.

The Iowa Waste Exchange not only provides opportunities for business and industry to reduce disposal costs, but often finds reusable items to benefit many different entities. This can also save money by avoiding new purchasing costs.

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