Denver International Airport is retrofitting more than 5,400 lights located in the airport’s east and west parking garages with energy-efficient LED fixtures, resulting in substantial energy and cost savings.

The majority of the lights—high-pressure sodium bulbs rated for 188 watts per fixture—are being replaced with 51-watt LEDs. Combined with other lighting systems in the overall retrofit package, DIA expects a net energy savings of about 45%, resulting in energy cost savings of about $327,000 per year.

Over the system’s estimated lifespan of 20 years, the airport expects to save more than $6.5 million in electricity costs. The new fixtures will also substantially reduce maintenance requirements due to the longer life of LED lights.

“By replacing the existing lights with energy-efficient LED lights, we will reduce Denver International Airport’s energy consumption and save a substantial amount of money over time,” says Kim Day, Denver’s manager of aviation. “This project will also make the parking garages brighter and more evenly lit, increasing visibility and enhancing safety.”

The project is part of a package of upgrades aimed at improving the experience for DIA’s parking customers. Earlier this year, the airport added reserved parking spaces in the east and west parking garages, and electric vehicle charging stations were installed in late 2013.

Construction on the lighting project will begin in May and should take about one year to complete at a cost of $2.7 million.

The project also qualifies for Xcel Energy’s Lighting Efficiency rebate program.

The airport anticipates that it will qualify for a rebate of about $630,000, which will reduce the project cost to less than $2.1 million. The LED light fixtures will be assembled locally by Denver-based Cooper Lighting.

The project is part of a wider effort to upgrade lights throughout DIA, including lights on taxiways and pavement fixtures on the airfield. Of the approximately 24,000 airfield lights, about 4,000 have been upgraded to LED fixtures over the last four years by DIA’s Airport Infrastructure Management group.

This summer, all the lights used on runway 8/26 will be upgraded to LEDs. Additional lights will be upgraded as funding becomes available.