For more than 75 years, the City of Hagerstown Maryland’s Light Department (HLD) has been dedicated to providing safe and reliable electric power at the most economical possible cost. Currently serving over 17,500 customers, this publicly owned municipal electric utility makes service its top priority, and maintains some of the lowest rates in the region.
From design through energization and operation, HLD is responsible for hundreds of miles of distribution and sub-transmission facilities as well as the city’s roadway, pedestrian, and park lighting.
Jason M. Bachtell, HLD’s Staff/Electrical Engineer, has been using Design Master Photometrics for about eighteen months on all types of lighting projects.
“Lighting is time-consuming to get right, so we were looking for something that was less cumbersome than the manufacturer-provided photometric programs,” explains Mr. Bachtell. “Design Master Photometrics meets that need really well and lets us quickly lay out and evaluate different lighting options.”
“Because Design Master Photometrics runs alongside AutoCAD, it’s very quick and easy to take AutoCAD drawings and simply overlay the lighting and make ‘what-if’ kinds of changes,” Mr. Bachtell adds. “This allows us to demonstrate to people who want certain light levels whether we can actually achieve them, or if we need to find a compromise.
“The software lets you understand in advance of going out there how a range of fixtures or products will perform, and what the light levels and the spread of light and other key factors will be with a particular lighting design. It’s very easy to import manufacturers’ IES files, name the fixtures anything you want, and then rotate fixtures in and out to see what light levels you’ll achieve based upon lumen output or fixture type, or even across the same style of fixture from different manufacturers,” notes Mr. Bachtell.
Mr. Bachtell continues: “Recently we wanted to know what it would look like if we put up various levels of LED lighting in a particular area where we currently have high-intensity discharge lighting. With Design Master Photometrics we were able to quickly show what the lumen outputs would be at all the various locations with the various fixtures.
“In this way, we could quickly determine the most cost-effective result. For example, you might consider installing an LED fixture that costs $425 and has a 26,000-lumen output. But if you can demonstrate the ability to achieve the required light levels with a 16,000-lumen fixture that costs $200 less, depending on how many you plan to install, those cost savings really add up.
“By helping us optimize the performance of our lighting, the software helps save the city and our customers money and at the same time reduce light pollution and spillover and associated complaints,” Mr. Bachtell points out.
“Design Master Photometrics has been easy for me to learn as I go,” Mr. Bachtell observes. “Within an hour after installing it I was able to create a simple layout, add lights to the project schedule and output the results.”
“Anytime I submit a support request I always hear back within an hour or two and the problem gets resolved. I’ve never been held up by issues with the software,” Mr. Bachtell says.
“Each time I use Design Master Photometrics I learn something new or discover a new aspect of what it can do,” remarks Mr. Bachtell. “For example, I recently learned that you can do a bulk update on your fixtures rather than changing them individually.
“After I discovered that option I think I did three photometric reports in less than ten minutes. Just lay everything out, do a bulk update and you’re done!
“Another feature I really like for both pedestrian and vehicular lighting surveys is the ability to know what the light level will be at eye level, about 5.5 feet above the surface,” Mr. Bachtell mentions. “I also like being able to bring fixtures that I’ve loaded in prior projects into a new project, so I don’t need to re-enter all that data.”
“Design Master Photometrics is very economical to own and pays for itself over and over in terms of time saved,” Mr. Bachtell indicates. “It allows me to efficiently deal with lighting issues and then go back and focus on the engineering, construction and reliability of our distribution and sub-transmission facilities.”
“We’re very happy with the value we’re getting from the software,” concludes Mr. Bachtell. “I enjoy using and I’m thankful that we have it.”