Bright LED Lights on Campus Save Energy and Costs

If you have noticed that some outdoor areas on campus seem a little bit brighter, it is the result of a program to retrofit our campus with light-emitting diode, or LED lights.

The retrofit on campus means a reduction in total energy consumption for the college, as well as a reduction in our overall carbon footprint (the amount of emissions we release into the atmosphere), two of the goals of the President’s Climate Commitment, which was signed by President Bobby Fong.

LEDs have longer lifespans and lower energy consumption levels than conventional bulbs. They are often found in flashlights and on airplanes because of their high brightness levels, and can also be found in everything from car headlights to traffic lights.In 2011 the College received a grant originally written by Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Leah Joseph, from PEDA, the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority, for $120,645. As part of the College’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan (CSAP), Ursinus matched $41,514 of that for a total project budget of $162,159. They used that money to retrofit many lights on campus, which included all of the pole lights in the West Parking Lot (switching from 220 watt metal halide bulbs to high-efficiency 95 watt LEDs) and 116 walkway lights around campus (switching from 175 watt metal halide and high-pressure sodium bulbs to high-efficiency 34 or 35 watt LEDs). The installation was completed by Ursinus electricians, Bob Frederick, Dave Quinter, John Brown and Gary Bean, and was supervised by, Mechanical Trades Supervisor Steve Gehringer

In all, the retrofitting and efficiency gains will save the college 117,560 kilowatt hours per year, or $11,500 in electricity cost (a 75 percent reduction in lighting costs). Additionally, the college has made LEDs the standard when any parking lot lights or other pole lights need to be replaced, so expect the campus to become even brighter. — By Caroline Putscher 2015