The Payson Senior Center and Thrift Store shine a little brighter these days thanks to an APS rebate program and a generous donation from the Association of Energy Engineers.
In September, the senior center’s and thrift store’s overhead lighting system received an overhaul, complete with new energy efficient ballasts, bulbs and fixtures.
These improvements are expected to save the cash-strapped organization $2,800 a year in electricity costs and $26,000 over 10 years, said Maria Arellano with APS.
Currently, the senior center utility costs run around $1,800 a month for electricity and gas. Joanne Conlin, the senior center’s director, hopes to see the electricity bill drop by a third with the new lighting system.
The $5,170 project was partly paid for by a $2,964 rebate through the APS Direct Install program for businesses with the other $2,873 picked up by the Arizona chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). The AEE also chipped in another $667 to replace 19 fixtures at the thrift store outside of the rebate program.
“We are blessed to have such great people helping us out all the time,” Conlin said, “Our lighting is much better than before because of it.”
Don Monteath, board member with AEE, said AEE was delighted to help a worthy, local organization not only save money, but improves its quality of service.
To cover the cost of the project on their own, Conlin said the Senior Center would have had to dip into savings and even then “it would have been a stretch” to make payments.
Currently, a quarter of the Senior Center’s budget comes through revenue from the Thrift Store with the rest made up with contracts with the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens, Inc., Payson and Star Valley for Meals on Wheels and through private donations.
Every month, the Senior Center provides several hundred local seniors with a warm meal and place to socialize. They also transport at least 1,500 seniors to and from stores, doctor’s offices and home — all at little to no cost for users.
With new lights shining brightly above them, the center hopes to upgrade its heating and cooling system to further save on utility costs and has already adopted a recycling program to cut down on waste.
“We are trying to do anything we can to go green,” Conlin said. “Hopefully, we are going to see huge savings.”
For the AEE, this isn’t the first time they have donated funds to improve lighting, they also helped the Gilbert Historical Museum, Valley of the Sun School and Habilitation Center, Casa Bonita Housing Development/ Housing Authority of Maricopa County and Habitat for Humanity.
As a resident of Payson, Monteath felt it was important AEE extend a helping hand to groups outside of the Valley.
After explaining the needs of the Senior Center, the AEE board agreed.
“We appreciate everything APS and Don did for us,” Conlin said.
For more information on Direct Install, contact APS at www.aps.com.