Seattle City (spot)Light: Elizabeth Lyon

Elizabeth Lyon has worked at the utility’s Lighting Design Lab (LDL) for over four years. LDL, a unit of Customer Energy Solutions, focuses on commercial and industrial lighting education and evaluation services for regional utilities, energy efficiency organizations and trade professionals. “I’m the marketing-communications strategist,” Beth explained. “My role is to expand the lab’s visibility and increase the activity of our services.”

Originally from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Beth graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in communications and a minor in business. She also studied retail advertising at the Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising and achieved a graduate certificate in advanced digital marketing from the University of Washington. Beth originally moved to Seattle for work, but was quickly attracted to the region’s diversity and proximity to outdoor activities. She lives in West Seattle. “I love its sense of community; how close it is to the Sound and the fact that it’s very dog-friendly,” Beth shared.

In this week’s (spot)Light, Beth shares what keeps her busy and what she enjoys about LDL.

Beth and Cameron

“Skiing, biking and hiking are a few of my favorite outdoor activities. Our access to the mountains is what makes living in the Northwest so great. I’ll head up to Whistler for a weekend of skiing, but I also like Crystal Mountain. I also ski outside the country. I’ve skied in France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. I just think that the snow is much better. France is my favorite place in the world to ski, particularly Chamonix. Courmayeur in Italy is a close second.”

“I give back by volunteering as a crisis response dog handler and responder. Sadly, my previous response dog, Rex, died unexpectedly, but I have a new partner in training, Cameron. He’s currently away at early ‘boot camp.’ He’s learning typical puppy skills while being exposed to environments filled with a lot of people and a lot of noise.  When he’s about one year old, Cameron will become a therapy dog. He won’t test for crisis response until he’s about two. All handlers and dogs with our response organization (there are several across the country) are highly trained in FEMA incident command, traumatology and dog handling. We’re also registered and insured.”

“Through this work, I’ve had the honor to be at the Oso mudslide and the Seattle/King County Clinic at Seattle Center. And, although rare events, my team was deployed to work the shootings at Seattle Pacific University and Marysville High School, providing comfort to victims and students through the love of a dog. Tragic deployments can come at a moment’s notice and I’m grateful for my boss who is very supportive of this effort.”

“I really enjoy the people I work with at LDL. We’re a small, scrappy team which allows us to be nimble and proactive for our customers. I’m always happy to share the work that we do. If anyone would like a tour of LDL, just let me know!”

Seattle City Light Celebrates Public Power Week


Starting Oct. 2 to Oct. 8, Seattle City Light will be joining more than 2,000 public utilities as it celebrates Public Power Week, hosted by the American Public Power Association.

Throughout the week, you will meet some of City Light’s hard-working staff, learn more about the utility’s history and find out more about what public power means to you. 

Follow the Seattle City Light Facebook account to participate in City Light’s personalized version of Public Power Week. With seven days full of content, videos and photos — the utility put together a guide (below), so you can follow along and celebrate Public Power Week!


Day #1 – “Substation Sunday”
Michael Clark, Seattle City Light’s Denny Substation Program Manager, explains how the Denny Substation is known as “The World’s Coolest Substation.”



Day #2 – “Meaningful Monday”
Seattle City Light General Manager and CEO, Larry Weis, starts the day off with an introduction of how important it is to be publicly powered.



Day #3 – “Tech Tuesday”
Meet the Seattle City Light Energy Advisors and learn more about the importance of energy conservation and other green-minded tips.



Day #4 – “Working Wednesday”
Seattle City Light lineworkers and interns share their rewarding experience of helping customers and the community while working for the utility.



Day #5 – “Throwback Thursday”
This #TBT is dedicated to the powerful history of Seattle City Light and being one of the first publicly-owned utilities in the nation.



Day #6 – “Future Friday”
Seattle City Light General Manager and CEO, Larry Weis, explains how the utility will move forward into the ever-changing industry.




Day #7 – “Safety Saturday”
It’s almost storm season, so time to brush up on your safety skills. Learn more safety tips from some of Seattle City Light’s Safety Team.



Amtrak cuts its costs with LED lighting, support from Seattle City Light

Some of the new energy efficient LED lighting at Amtrak’s Seattle yard.

At Amtrak’s Seattle yard, the lights shine a little brighter and the power bill is a lot smaller thanks to energy-efficient strategies created through collaboration between the railroad and Seattle City Light.

Last fall, Amtrak retrofitted 508 light fixtures with LED and T8 fluorescent lights, replacing high-intensity discharge lamps and T12 fluorescent fixtures. The new lights shine brighter, increasing line of sight and security. LEDs also last four times longer and offer efficient dimming capabilities. This project saves about 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year — enough energy to power more than 100 homes for a year.

“These lights will help reduce our overall operating and maintenance costs,” Amtrak Project Manager 1 Dan Radeke said. “They should last a long time.”

LED lights were installed at Amtrak’s warehouse A, the material control warehouse, the maintenance of equipment building, exterior lighting and the commissary.

Timers and light motion detectors, which keep lights off until people are present, also were installed. Existing compressed air lines were repaired and an energy-reducing air compressor was purchased.

The total cost of the project was $544,000. Seattle City light provided $312,000 in energy efficiency incentives for the project.

Amtrak Manager of Energy Projects John Tull introduced Radeke to Seattle City Lights’ rebate program, recognizing it could save money and reduce energy bills. Tull also identified the type of lights needed through research and conversations with City Light Senior Energy Management Analyst Aaron Houseknecht.

“The buildings are fairly new, only 4 years old, and they used efficient lighting,” Houseknecht said.  “What I noticed the most was that all the lights were on and there was no one around.  Conservation performed an occupancy study and found that some areas were 90 percent vacant.”

“A lighting contractor was going to replace the lamps and ballasts in this building as routine maintenance so I suggested that they attach an occupancy sensor to the lights when doing the retrofit,” he said. “There was so much energy savings and incentives that Amtrak decided to install the occupancy sensors and to convert the lights to LEDs.  We also looked at an air compressor that ran continuously to feed leaky underground pipes.  You could literally see air bubbles in the mud puddles.  We replaced the compressor and added new piping and now the compressor only runs for a few hours a day.

Amtrak is already seeing the benefits of the changes.

Amtrak Deputy General Manager Kurt Laird helped find funding to pay for the initial cost of the LED lights before the rebate became effective.

“We wanted to conserve energy and create a better environment for our employees,” Laird said. “We accomplished our goals, and we want to keep moving forward.”

Powerful Neighborhoods Brings Energy Efficient Lighting to 70,000 Homes

Hung Ngo from Ecova installs an energy efficient bulb as part of the Powerful Neighborhoods program.

Seattle City Light’s Powerful Neighborhoods conservation program has reached 70,000 customers in the past four years, saving enough energy to power nearly 2,800 homes and saving our customers about $2 million a year.

The program, which started in 2010 with federal stimulus funds, hired contractors to visit customers at their homes to install energy-efficient light bulbs, efficient showerheads and faucet aerators. It focused specifically on reaching customers in low-income areas, senior citizens, and ethnic communities, who historically have not benefitted directly from conservation incentive programs. In 2012, the program shifted direction to apartment and condominium buildings.

As of February, 50,000 apartments and condos have been served. Combined with the 20,000 single-family homes served in the first two years of the program, 70,000 City Light customers have directly received energy efficiency upgrades. Another 12,000 homes are anticipated to be served by the end of 2015.

“Having our property participate in Seattle City Light’s Powerful Neighborhoods program was great,” said Jeff Dixon, assistant community manager at the Cambridge at Bitterlake Apartments. “Everyone was impressed with the professionalism of the Seattle City Light team and our residents are very happy with the new energy saving lights and showerheads in their units.”

Powerful Neighborhoods installed 1,474 compact fluorescent light bulbs at the apartment complex for seniors and coordinated with a PSE program to provide showerhead installations during the same appointment.

After installing more than half a million compact fluorescent light bulbs, Powerful Neighborhoods is now exclusively using LED bulbs as replacements for incandescent bulbs. The program now also delivers advanced power strips to residents who request them. The strips prevent wasted energy from idle electronic equipment.

Ruben Bertoni of Ecova explains a smart power strip he delivered to Maria Cabrales as part of the Powerful Neighborhoods program.

For information on the program or to sign your building up for an installation, visit, send an e-mail, or call (877) 311-8752.