Bike shop shifts from fluorescent to LED lights

Bike shop shifts from fluorescent to LED lights

A bright LED light shines down on Eric holding a tee-shirt, custom made for a block party hosted by Front Street Community Bike Works.

After 20 years working for the State, Eric Clough envisioned starting a bike shop on the Coos Bay waterfront.

Energy Trust for Business lights the way for a small business in Coos Bay

Planning for retirement, Eric Clough recognized his passions: birds and bikes. The former project manager for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, embarked on international birding trips and found camaraderie among bike enthusiasts.

A bright LED light shines down on Eric holding a tee-shirt, custom made for a block party hosted by Front Street Community Bike Works.

Before starting his own bike shop, the “always” bike commuter Clough volunteered at various community shops around the world, accumulating a collection of commemorative tee-shirts in the process.

Exterior view of Front Street Community Bike Works.

After working for the State, Clough set to work starting a bike shop in his hometown. He and his wife purchased a former A.F.W. hall despite its distressed state and renovated the space for Front Street Community Bike Works.

They started renovations on the roof, followed by structural improvements – paint and insulation. The lighting? Well, that would have to wait.

“The lighting was pretty bad,” Clough said, describing the old fluorescent tubes. “Dim. Yellow-y. And I got old man eyes, so I need photons.”

LED lights are brighter and more efficient, so Clough swapped some of the fluorescent tubes with those himself. The other ones were OK, they worked, so he put replacing lights on hold.

The turning point was a no-cost lighting offer from Energy Trust

Three years later, Ryan, one of the shop’s top volunteers, mentioned Energy Trust of Oregon’s small business lighting incentive, which provides upgrades at no cost. Clough checked it out and navigated the online approval process. He sent pictures of his fixtures to the Energy Trust Business Lighting Direct Install trade ally contractor, who would do the work.

During one of its shop days, the crew from Tri-Phase Electric rolled up and got right to work. During a walkthrough appointment, they assessed the situation, and then later they replaced the outdated fluorescents with energy-efficient LEDs. They added a fixture to a dark storage area, and new can lighting fixtures and bulbs to the building’s infill room, where local bands sometimes practice.

A back storage area filled with bikes on the walls and floor, illuminated by a newly installed LED light.

One added benefit: the contractors took away the toxic fluorescent tubes Clough had collected and disposed of them responsibly. “I would have to drive to Eugene,” Clough said. “That’s a two-and-a-half-hour drive to dispose these fluorescent tubes.”

A music room with drums and sound padding, show how bright the new lighting shines.

An even brighter future for those who bike

“We’re all about salvaging, reusing, reducing,” he said. “So, the fact that we can say we’ve done a good thing to reduce our consumption of electricity, electric power to run our lights, fits with our mission. That’s important to us.”

And the LED lights they just installed made a difference to its space right away.

“These are whiter and brighter and good for our shop environment. They’re better for the environment, too. More sustainable.”

And for Clough and his bike shop, sustainability is what it’s all about.

“It’s just a drop in the rain barrel, right? I mean, it fills the rain barrel one drop at a time. You’re not going to solve the problems of the world by putting LED lights in, but you know, everybody does their part.”

Eric Clough speaks with a customer about a bike that is being worked on.

Sustainability is part of Coos Bay’s future, too. Its Front Street Blueprint Plan includes bicycle/pedestrian ways alongside the rail line. The plan includes waterfront access and more ways to ride a bike.

With the help of Energy Trust’s lighting incentive, Front Street Community Bike Works bike shop shines a little brighter. And that’s a good thing for the Coos Bay community.

A wide angle view of the bike shop shows Eric looking happy with the new bright LED lights on the ceiling.

Put Into action. Join the community.

While LED lights might not solve all the world’s problems, as Clough said, “Everybody does their part.”

To date, Energy Trust has completed more than 1,300 no-cost lighting installations at local business across the state, including Front Street Community Bike Works, contributing to significant energy savings.

See if you qualify for an upgrade.

Questions? Give us a call at 1.800.326.2917 or send us an email at Interpretation services are available at no cost for non-English speakers.

Also, if you are in Coos Bay and need a bike to ride, please ask Eric. He’s probably got one or two extra bikes just sitting around.