Beacon or Boondoggle? New Lights For the Capitol - washingtonpost.com
The warm white glow of the Capitol dome may soon go green, part of an effort by Democratic congressional leaders to save energy and modernize the District's nocturnal landscape. But like so many issues on Capitol Hill, the plan to update the building's 18-year-old exterior lighting has ignited partisan bickering. Republicans and other critics consider the project's early phase wasteful, and they question whether a $671,900 contract to design the lighting system was steered by Rep. Robert A. Brady (D-Pa.). chairman of the House Administration Committee, to a company in his home district. The Capitol which last got new lights in 1990, is next in line. It's system consists of 38 1,000-watt metal halide lamps mounted on rooftops over the House and Senate wings. The lamps burn for about eight hours a night and consume more than 122,000 kilowatt-hours of power each year. The annual electric bill is nearly $15,000. Converting to a more eco-friendly system has turned out to be expensive and the work has just begun. Beard's office rejected two lower bids to recommend awarding the design contract to the Lighting Practice of Philadelphia, located in Brady's district. The contract cover no installation cost. Officials do not yet have an estimate for the cost of the project. By Christopher Lee, Washington Post Staff Writer
Can you believe this? We are paying Lighting Practice of Philadelphia $671,900 to design 36 light fixtures. That's $17,681.16 per light fixture. Now this does not include any equipment. It is just for the design. The web site for The Lighting Practice states "The Lighting Practice was establish in 1989 to provide specialized design service in the application of lighting for Architecture." Right now there is 38 1,000 watt halide lamps mounted on rooftops. Why don't we just hire a light manufacture company to replace them with energy efficient lamps?
Now the Democrats say this system is old. It is only 18 years old and this is an antique historical building, are the lights suppose to look new? This project is part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's environmentally friendly "Green the Capitol" initiative but we are going to burn more carbon taking down the old system and installing a new system than what we will save by the eco-friendly system. It will take more than 45 years to recoup money spent on the system's design if consumption was zero. this does not include the cost of fixtures or the labor.
Who would pay someone $671.900 to just design something without having some idea of a cost for the project or a budget? Two bids were lower but rejected because they did not provide enough information to assess their financial health. So just ask for more.This just looks like a pay off by Rep. Robert A. Brady to the Lighting Practice. I wonder how much they gave to his campaign? When Nancy Pelosi became House Speaker she said this is a new day and that we were going to have a cleaner, up front congress. This looks like politics as usual.
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