News from Electro-Matic Visual

Holt Schools Projected to Save $3 Million with Infrastructure Upgrade

Posted by Electro-Matic on Jun 13, 2023 11:38:32 AM


Holt Public Schools, a K-12 school district in central Michigan serving more than 5,000 students, installed nearly 10,000 LED luminaires and retrofit kits, almost 8,000 Bluetooth communication devices, and 9,000 lighting control devices at nine schools across the district. The lighting was installed in classrooms, in hallways, and in the exterior, including parking lots.


The project was part of an infrastructure upgrade expected to help the district meet its sustainability goals by cutting 64% of the energy used by the previous fluorescent lighting system, equating to about $3 million in savings over the next 12 years. In addition to saving energy, the lighting also contributes to a more comfortable learning environment for the students compared to the overly bright fluorescent lighting which often drove teachers to turn off lighting completely.

Calculate Your LED Lighting ROI

Holt Public Schools worked with Avi-onEspen Technologies, Electro-Matic Visual, and Trane on the project. Costs for the lighting upgrades were funded with an Energy Bond, under a Guaranteed Performance Contract managed by the state of Michigan. Although this was massive undertaking, the lighting controls were fully commissioned without any disruption to learning, even while the students were in class. To minimize onsite labor, the controls were pre-configured and pre-installed inside fixtures.


Budget Constraints

  • Insufficient Mileage Tax Bond
  • Without External fundings School would have to cut measures out (eg. Lighting Controls) BUT would fail to meet school district sustainability goals

Increasing Energy Cost

  • Utility Bill & Budget going up
  • Pulling money out of education related investments
    • Hiring new teachers
    • Paying Teacher’s bonus
    • Buying Chromebooks & misc. school supplies

Hiring Freeze & Reduced Maintenance Budget

  • Not helping teachers with education-related maintenance
  • Staff stretched thin
    • Replacing broken light bulbs & ballasts
    • Cleaning fixtures (bugs)

Limited Space Conversion Capabilities

  • Classrooms frequently reconfigured
    • Classrooms -> Office
    • Classrooms -> Special Needs Classrooms
  • Existing Lighting too Static and Lighting Controls are antiquated




  • On-Bill Financing
  • Property Assessed Clean Energy
  • Energy Savings Performance Contracting - ESPC
  • Energy as a Service - EaaS
  • Decarbonization as a Service - DaaS

Utility Rebates6H9A3298

  • Energy Data to compare the before/after
  • Based on kWh saved ($0.25) using NLCs as opposed to kW reduction if LED retrofit only
  • IRA Incentives – update to 179D tax code



LED Lighting

  • Retrofit Kits
  • Minimized Onsite Labor
  • Reduce “cleaning” time working under the ceiling
  • CCT Selectable

“This project helps us to save money by reducing our energy consumption and it provides an opportunity to create a personalized instructional environment for our students and teachers,”  Dr. Hornak, Holt Superintendent 

Network Lighting Controls 

  • Followed Best Practices
    • Audit focused on sensor & dimmer counts (hybrid design)
    • Documented CIN & COO
    • Open communication between Contractor, Espen and Avi-on
    • 5 SKUs & No-gateway (Wireless Bluetooth Mesh Technology)
    • Avi-on Pre-programmed devices
    • Espen installed controls at their factory
    • Contractor scanned bar codes
    • Avi-on programmed the system remotely
  • Layers Control Strategies for higher Energy Savings
    • High end Trim
    • Vacancy Mode in Classrooms and Offices
    • Daylighting
    • Dimming Controls for Teachers
    • Energy monitoring for rebate qualification and M&V

Minimizing onsite labor was a critical part that drove many of these decisions.



“A centralized control capability to monitor the lighting activity and make adjustments to optimize functionality from a handheld device or a central location.
An improved energy management system that allows motion sensors to control lighting for classrooms and hallways and permits automatic changes when schedule alterations occur without requiring regular programming.
Enhanced security to provide centralized control of all lighting during emergency situations, the ability to dim parking lot lights when they are not in use as well as the capability for those lights to go on when a car or person enters the parking lot.”
  • Net Annual Savings 1.1million kWh
  • 67% kWh reduction w/ LED retrofit alone
  • Additional 55% kWh reduction w/ Controls
  • School received an additional $200k+ with the addition of NLCs
  • ROI slightly over 3 years
  • Happy Teachers
  • National recognition for the school


Increase Business Profitability Whitepaper

Topics: LED Lighting