Relamping at UConn - Efficient lighting upgrades will cut costs and reduce carbon emissions
UConn expects a dramatic drop in its electricity demand due to an extensive lighting system upgrade campaign targeting 67 buildings on campus. These upgrades will increase energy efficiency, decrease overall energy use, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions moving us toward UConn’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2050, per the ACUPCC agreement and UConn’s Climate Action Plan.
Reducing lighting energy demand is one of the most effective methods for reducing total energy consumption. According to the Department of Energy, the average office building can attribute 29% of its total energy demand to lighting!This means that there is the potential for tremendous energy savings by increasing the efficiency of our lighting systems.
After a prioritization assessment was performed by campus sustainability work groups, ConSERV TM was hired to perform the installation upgrades. They are replacing old high intensity discharge (HID) light bulbs with new T-5 fluorescent bulbs. This new lighting is so efficient that one T-5 light bulb will use 70% less electricity than one HID bulb for the same light output and lamp life. Furthermore, the T-5 light bulb’s high luminescence and light-maximizing arc fixture produces the same level of brightness with only half the number of light bulbs. That adds up to a massive energy reduction.
These lighting system upgrades also include the installation of controls like motion and occupancy sensors, which turn off the light when they stop detecting movement; and daylight sensors, which maximize use of sunlight by turning on the lights only when natural light is insufficient for people to see inside the area. The combination of these efficient lighting systems and sensors could reduce the lighting electricity demand by up to 59% in some buildings!
ConSERV TM engineers have projected estimates for how much energy and money may be saved as a result of the lighting upgrades, a project which consists of four phases. Phases I through III include 23 of the most energy-consuming buildings on campus, like the Homer Babbidge Library, the Greer Field House, and the Chemistry Building. Engineers have estimated that lighting upgrades in just these first 23 buildings could potentially account for over 2.6 million kilowatt hours in energy savings, which means that a staggering 1524 metric tons of CO2 emissions could be saved over the next year! This is like taking 28 cars off the road for a year. Moreover, these lighting retrofits could save the university an upward of $243,000 per year, and have a 2-3 year payback. With upgrades in 44 more buildings to come, it seems UConn has found the right way to shed some light on sustainability.
To put it in perspective, the new lighting in the 23 buildings completed in Phases I-III can potentially save the same amount of CO2 emissions per year as driving a regular gas-powered car 4 million miles! Thanks to ConSERV TM’s partnership with Facilities Operations to re-vamp our lighting, UConn’s carbon footprint is about to be seriously downsized.
Other steps taken toward energy conservation include the "Turn out the Lights" campaign and the Wasted Energy Audits of campus buildings, two outreach initiatives conducted by the Office of Environmental Policy (OEP). Another recent OEP event, the Be Heard! Coffeehouse, brought students together to write letters to UConn administrators about where energy is wasted most on campus.
Click here for a comparison of HID and T-5 lighting
Prepared by: Olivia Cowenhoven and Ethan Butler
Appendix A: Estimates for Phases I-III kilowatt hour savings and carbon emission calculations.
- According to the US Department of Energy, approximately 29% of electricity used by the average office building can be attributed to lighting. http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/consumptionbriefs/cbecs/pbawebsite/office/office_howuseenergy.htm
- The emissions conversion coefficient for UConn’s co-gen power plant is:
1.3 lbs. CO2/kWh = 5.897x10 metric tons CO2/kwh
2,584,684 kwh * 5.897x10-4 metric tons CO/kwh = 1524.11 metric tons CO2 potentially saved by Phases I-III of the lighting upgrade project over the next year.
- According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the average fuel economy of a passenger car is 22.1 miles per gallon. Also, according to the EPA, a gallon of gasoline produces 8.8 kilograms of CO2.
- 1524 metric tons of CO2/year ÷ 8.8 kg CO2/gallon * 1000 tons/kg * 22.1 miles/gallon = 3,827,318 miles/year
- Example used: Greer Field House
Energy Consumption in kW*hr per year:
Before – 623,341
After – 255,462
(623,341 – 255,462) ÷ 623,341*100 = 59.0%