There are 900 classrooms in the York County School Division in Yorktown, Virginia, and every one of them has a ceiling mounted projector used every day. So when those projectors began failing three years ago, the technology experts knew it was time to go shopping.
“We were nursing a fleet of 10 year old projectors with expensive bulbs and repairs,” says James McCann, Assistant Director of Computer Maintenance at YCSD. “Initially we looked at a model we had selected earlier but that was no longer in production. Then we happened across Casio’s hybrid Laser & LED technology and it seemed to have everything we were looking for: 16:10 aspect ratio, native resolution of 1280 x 800, and at least 3000 lumens.”
There were other advantages to the Casio LampFree® models that tilted the scales. One of the biggest is that there is no expensive bulb to replace. Casio replaces the old mercury bulbs with a hybrid Laser & LED light source with an expected 20,000 hour lifespan. That’s ten times the 2000 hour life typical of projections lamps.
“There’s where the savings are, in the bulbs,” says McCann. “When you’re dealing with a bulb that costs 300 bucks, all you need is to have it pop on you when you’re trying to install it, and you really feel sick. And you think about how many minutes it takes to go get a ladder, go to the classroom, put a technician up on the ladder across 900 projectors at least every two years, versus never having to change a bulb again. There’s a tremendous savings there.”
In fact, the division was spending $25,000 to $30,000 a year on replacement bulbs alone, and that figure would have been $100,000 higher had teachers left their projectors on all day, every day. The division was also replacing $80 dust filters every year at a cost of around $72,000.
“We also know that each Casio LampFree® is using just 190 watts of power compared to 350 watts by the older projectors,” says Doug Meade, YCSD Director of Technology. Since their projectors average more than 1,000 hours per year, that will add up to another $16,000 in savings for 900 projectors. “I happen to be responsible for energy management so I’m in a position to know. I pay the electric bills.”
When the division finishes replacing all 900 projectors, the savings for lamps, filters and electricity will total roughly $120,000 each year, plus the cost of labor.
There are 19 schools in the Yorkville County Division serving 12,700 students: 10 elementary schools, four middle schools, four high schools and one technology charter school. Education is serious business here. In the end, the goal is to give students and teachers the right tools to do their job without unwelcome and unnecessary interruptions. In the last three years they have also learned that the brightness of the Casio LampFree® projector does not dim over time as bulbed projectors tend to do with age.
“If I put something in my classrooms that a teacher can’t see with light coming in the windows, then I need to put in shades,” says Meade. “And then we would have to add various kinds of light control measures. It’s much simpler to purchase a product that is going to work. That’s why we only buy professional projectors.” The division’s initial purchase was 320 projectors. They bought 300 more the following year, and they have bought a handful each year since, just to have them ready and on hand when an older projector fails. The goal is to be completely LampFree® within the next two or three years.
“It’s an excellent projector,” says Meade. “I can’t say anything bad about it. It serves our purposes very well.”