Whitman Mission National Historic Site Visitor Center
Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Walla Walla, Washington

Whitman Mission National Historic Site (NHS) is one of several National Park Service (NPS) facilities that have been designated Federal Energy Saver Showcases. Since 1992, Bruce Hancock, Chief of Maintenance, and other staff at the park have retrofitted outdated lighting systems in the maintenance shop and visitor center. The result is a 25%–40% reduction in energy consumption in 1999, representing cost savings of $825–$1,580.

Denise Fong of Lighting Design Lab, Steve Butterworth, NPS Regional Energy Conservation Manager, and the park staff worked together to identify locations and ways to update the park's lighting. Most of the costs for the lighting retrofits were paid with funds authorized for park maintenance, but some special regional funding for equipment procurement was used in the early stages of the project. Federal Energy Management Program staff assisted Whitman Mission NHS with an agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Lighting Design Lab.

Because lighting accounts for 20%–25% of electricity used annually in the United States, it is a logical place to begin when making changes to reduce energy consumption. In the visitor center and maintenance shop, most of the old light fixtures were fluorescent, electromagnetic ballast, 40 W T-12 tubes. These were replaced with electronic ballast, 32 W T-8 tubes. Some overhead fixtures were also replaced with task lighting fixtures designed for energy efficiency. And many of the old incandescent fixtures in the facilities were replaced with compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) retrofits.

In the auditorium and exhibit areas, incandescent lighting could not be replaced with CFL without compromising the quality of light and the use of dimmers. Fourteen fixtures with 120 V, 60 W incandescent lamps were replaced with 130 V, 20 W R-30 Hytron lamps. In the exhibit area, 120 V, 75 W reflector lamps were replaced by 130 V, 45 W halogen IR Lamps. These replacements save energy because of their lower wattage, and, because of their higher voltage, the lamps have a greater life expectancy.

Occupancy sensors were also installed in the exhibit area. The space, originally designed for 8–10 hours of illumination each day, was monitored for one year after installation of the sensors and was found to require only about two hours of illumination per day.

Approximately 80,000 visitors tour Whitman Mission NHS facilities annually. The staff at the park are dedicated to encouraging sustainable practices. Plaques at the park already educate visitors about recycling. And now Whitman Mission NHS staff are revising the Web site and field trip guide to include information about the energy-efficient lighting.