The Green Room at the Geyer Performing Arts Center just got a little greener.
The Scottdale theater recently took steps to become the first local theater to make the switch to energy-efficient lighting.
“This change has many positives for the theater,” said Brad Geyer, GPAC board president. “Electric usage is first on the list. The theater uses a lot of electricity, and with more and more happening at the GPAC, the lights are on longer. LEDs cut the usage by nearly 75 percent, and every penny counts at the theater. Maintenance is another large factor, because with so many fixtures we always were replacing bulbs.
“We replaced nearly 600 bulbs with LEDs that have an average life of 25,000 hours. We would have replaced an incandescent bulbs three or four times more often than an LED. With using less electricity, we are running less power through the electric wires. With less stress on the wiring, it will in turn extend the life of the system,”
He said the theater wanted to make the change for about a year and tried to get grant money in 2013 to make the switch and update the theater’s emergency lighting. The grant was not funded and the theater upgraded the emergency lighting on its own.
Geyer said the theater kept the proposal in case funding became available. When a patron, who wished to remain anonymous, approached the theater about funding a project, he said a deal was able to be reached.
“Donors have many interests, and the theater has many needs, so the key is to match up the right projects with the right people. We were able to meet the donor’s wishes with this project. And it was a wonderful upgrade for the theater,” Geyer said.
Bill Cosalter is manager of the Energy Design and Efficiency Group for Scott Electric, which handles design build projects, LED lighting, and any project involving utility rebates for saving energy off of the power grid. Cosalter worked with the theater to put the energy saving plan in place.
With his guidance, the theater installed more than 260 GE LED dimmable lamps.
“The Geyer will save approximately 62,000 kwh per year. Dropping them a little over 13 kwh from last year’s totals. In calling Scott Electric, the theater and I worked together to fill out the paperwork to receive a utility company rebate to help the Geyer alleviate some of the cost to buy the LED lamps,” Cosalter said.
Geyer said none of the lights used to light the stage for productions were changed but all of the lights in the auditorium, lobby, greenroom, apartment and work lights are now LED.
Laurie Watson of Brownsville knows how important lighting is to the actors and the quality of a show. Watson not only acts on the Geyer stage but also runs sound and lights for many of the productions. She said the new lights have made a difference in the pre-show preparations.
“The actors find it easier during rehearsal to view their scripts, and it’s easier to work on sets because they are brighter and cooler,” she said.