Figure 1:Boll Weavers front window. (Picture taken by Holly Leopardi)
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Authors Holly Frances Leopardi
Elisabeth Johnson
Location California, USA
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Figure 2:Crystal Dobbs showing off her yarn. (Picture taken by Holly Leopardi)

Boll Weaver (Figure 1) is owned by Crystal Dobbs (Figure 2) and has been in Eureka, California for 15 years. Boll Weaver is a textiles center, offering classes and materials for felting, weaving, crocheting, knitting, dyeing and spinning looms. The building is 1,400 square feet, with a storefront space where yarn and products are displayed, and a back room where classes are held. Most of the energy demand of the business comes from the ten lights in the store front, which are on an average of six hours a day, six days a week. The two classroom lights are used only when customers wish to see the looms or when classes are taking place. Boll Weaver also has a desktop computer, used to track orders and purchases, which also contributes to the business's energy consumption.
Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) worked with Boll Weaver on a lighting retrofit to replace old ballasts and CFL light bulbs with new, energy efficient CLF light bulbs and ballast systems. This was part of a program that was throughout the community. As part of this program RCEA made projections for energy and money savings, and estimated how long it would take for the businesses to make a return on their investment in the retrofit.

Technical Background
[edit | edit source]

Definition of technical terms:

  • KWH:

This stands for kilowatt hours, which is a unit used to measure energy usage.

  • CO2:

Energy reduction can be referred to in terms of CO2 reduction, as the majority of the energy used is produced from either coal or natural gas combustion, which produces CO2.[1]

  • Ballast (Figure 3):
    Figure 3:Ballast controls voltage to light bulb. (Picture from[2]

A lighting ballast can be any piece of equipment used to limit the flow of an electrical current through a light.[3] gives a complete definition of ballast.

  • True Color light Bulb (Figure 4):
Figure 4:True Color Light Bulb. (Picture courtesy of[4]
A True Color light bulb has a higher temperature in the Kelvin Color Scale making it more similar to the light from the sun. A typical florescent bulb is between 3,000 and 5,000 K, where the True Color bulbs are around 6,000 K. The light from the sun on a clear, blue sky day is between 7,000 and 8,500 K. This gives the products illuminated by a True Color light bulb a more vibrant, "true" color.[5]

Lighting Retrofit[edit | edit source]

RCEA worked with Boll Weaver to retrofit all ballasts and bulbs at the shop. In total, twenty four bulbs and twelve ballasts were replaced. The bulbs that were recommended by RCEA did not fit the needs of the business based on the color performance. Due to this, an independent lighting contractor was used. The bulbs were replaced with True Color light bulbs, which had the same efficiency as the light bulbs recommended by RCEA. The nature of the products that are sold in the store require a more vivid color spectrum which required these special bulbs to be used. These true color bulbs use 59 watts, which is a higher power consumption than the 32 watt bulbs that RCEA recommended.

Outcome of the Retrofits[edit | edit source]

The overall outcome of the retrofits resulted in some savings, however they were less than the RCEA predicted. The average monthly KWH usage for the year prior to the retrofit (10/2007-9/2008) was 308 KWH, which amounts to about 162 lbs of CO2 produced per month (Table 1). The average monthly KWH usage the year following the retrofit (10/2008-9/2009) was 278 KWH, which amounts to about 146 lbs of CO2 per month (Table 1). This was calculated by finding the average KWH usage from September 2007 to August 2008 and comparing it with the average KWH usage from September 2008 to August 2009. To find the CO2 emitted, the average KWH use was multiplied by 0.5246lbsCO2/KWH. To find the monthly savings KWH was multiplied by the rate $0.16716/KWH. This is a yearly reduction of about 192 lbs of CO2 (Table 2) or a 10% reduction in energy use. The actual yearly KWH reduction this far has been 28% of that predicted by RCEA. Part of this smaller energy reduction can be attributed to the higher wattage of bulbs used, compared to what RCEA based their estimates on.

Table 1 (Raw data obtained from RCEA[6]):

Average Monthly KWH Usage
CO2 Produced Per Month
Before Retrofit
308 KWH
162 lbs/month
After Retrofit
278 KWH
146 lbs/month
Table 2 (Raw data obtained from RCEA[6]):

KWH Saved
1,308 KWH/year
360 KWH/year
Dollars Saved Per Month
CO2 Reduction
680 lbs/year
192 lbs/year
Total Cost
Payback Time
7.8 years
30 years
Figure 5: Boll Weaver's KWH usage year before retrofit and after retrofit. (Raw data obtained from RCEA[6])

Clients Habits After the Retrofits[edit | edit source]

The habits of the client did not change after the retrofit, most in part because Ms. Dobbs had preexisting habits that were energy conscious. One of the major reasons that Ms. Dobbs went through with the retrofit was because of environmental impact, which Ms. Dobbs has always been a strong advocate for.

Boll Weaver's Motivation to Go Forward With the Retrofits[edit | edit source]

Ms. Dobbs went forward with the retrofit because she is an advocate of energy efficiency and needed to upgrade the lighting of the store, as the lighting was there since she opened her business 15 years ago. Ms. Dobbs did the retrofits for the idea of promoting energy efficiency more than for the money it would save. Ms. Dobbs would have liked to upgrade her lightning either way, but the push from RCEA made it a reality.

There is no need for further retrofits in relation to the lighting at the Boll Weaver because all of the lights were replaced.

Overall Experience With RCEA[edit | edit source]

Ms. Dobbs said that she was happy with her overall experience with RCEA. They gave her the extra push she needed to get this project done. She said RCEA was very informative, polite and  patient when it came to waiting for the independent contractor to finish the job.

Related Links[edit | edit source]

More about Kelvin Color Temperature

More about what impacts CO2 emission

Learn more about RCEA

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Davis, Mackenzie L., and Susan J. Masten. Principles of Environmental Engineering and Science. 2nd ed. New York: Mcgraw Hill Higher Education, 2008. Print.
  2. Viren, Tom, Hannah, Josh, Rubenstein, Ben. "How to Replace the Ballast in a Fluorescent Lighting Fixture - wikiHow." wikiHow - The How-to Manual That You Can Edit. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2009. <>.
 J. Dellaporta.
(06 October 2009), What is a Lighting Ballast?. (n.d.). wiseGEEK: clear answers for common questions. Retrieved November 10, 2009, from
  4. Ott-Lite® True Color™ Light Bulbs." Jerry's Artarama The Artist's Supplier & Resource ™ Since 1968. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2009. <>.
  5. Tim Carter. (2009). Light Bulbs Alter True Colors. (n.d.). Ask the Builder - The Home Improvement Resource. Retrieved November 10, 2009, from
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Redwood Coast Energy Authority. (2009). Welcome to the Redwood Coast Energy Authority website. (n.d.). Welcome to the Redwood Coast Energy Authority website. Retrieved November 12, 2009, from
FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Part of RCEA energy audit reviews, Engr115 Intro to Engineering
Keywords energy
SDG SDG07 Affordable and clean energy
Authors Elisabeth Johnson, Holly Frances Leopardi
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Organizations Redwood Coast Energy Authority, Humboldt State university
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 5 pages link here
Impact 246 page views
Created October 22, 2009 by Elisabeth Johnson
Modified February 28, 2024 by Felipe Schenone
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