Have you walked into the IT Center of Rush Rhees Library recently and noticed something’s a bit different, but just can’t put your finger on it? Here’s a hint: look up! It’s new energy efficient lighting.
Facilities has been replacing existing light fixtures in the IT Center with LED lighting. For those who don’t know, LED stands for light-emitting diode. They are used for everything from car brake lights to traffic lights and destination displays on buses to the infrared transmitter on your remote control. More recently, high-power LEDs have been used for lighting in place of incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.
LED lighting has some major benefits over other choices for lighting. First, LED lights are significantly more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, and are on par with fluorescents. However, what truly makes them stand out is their typical life span of about 50,000 hours. This is opposed to about 1,000 for an incandescent and only up to 15,000 for a fluorescent lamp. Also, unlike fluorescent lamps, LEDs do not contain mercury, making them safe for disposal once the end of their lifespan does come.
Unfortunately, LED lighting is difficult to obtain for private, residential use at this time because of cost and a lack of availability. However, UR Facilities is using its commercial availability to the benefit of both the environment and our budget!
There are about 365 light fixtures in the IT Center, which were initially filled with 55 watt T12 fluorescent lamps. Over the course of the summer, they will be replaced with 15W LED lamps. This will save us 111,000 kW/h per year in energy, which translates to $8,000 off our energy bill. Plus, since they have a longer life span, they will save us about $2,000 in maintenance every year, meaning this project will save us a grand total of $10,000 each year.
Equally importantly, this project will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions directly attributable to the University’s energy needs by over 175,000 lbs each year, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.
Currently, the lower level lighting has been switched over to LED bulbs, and over the coming summer, the rest will be changed, so if you’d like to compare the two, now is the time!