Let There be Light; A Brief History

Long before current University of Rochester students arrived on campus and before compact fluorescent lamps (CFL’s) were even available in the market, the University instituted a major lighting change. Current students are well acquainted with the compact fluorescent light bulb program, where each student receives one as a freshman (which is hopefully used all four years). However, the University has been making sustainable lighting changes before some current students were even born!

Between 1992 and 1997, Facilities switched more than 80% of the lighting fixtures on campus, from T12 lamps and ballasts, to the more energy efficient T8 ones. It was no small task; this one shift meant changing about 60,000 light fixtures on campus. The result has not been small either, since this one change has meant savings of about $600,000 per year in electricity. The EPA rewarded the University of Rochester’s efforts with their award for the Green Lights Partner of the Year, in 1997.

The University of Rochester has made strides toward sustainability for years, such as its work on this lighting project. More recent efforts have been placed on implementing LED lighting and harvesting daylight in new buildings. But no matter where new technology leads us, let’s keep up the good work by remembering to do our part and turn off those lights when they’re not needed.

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