University will save $70,000 with new ARC lights

By Madison Johnston

After the installation of new energy efficient lighting in three gyms at the ARC, the University will potentially save more than $70,000 this coming fiscal year.

The previous 400 light fixtures, 400 watts individually, were replaced with 100 watt Metalux High-Bay Light-Emitting Diodes, HBLED, luminaires following a consultation with Engineering Concepts and Solutions, which is located in Champaign.

Since 2012, the Facilities and Services office has been working in compliance with Gary Miller, former associate director of the ARC, to implement LED lighting in the three gyms with the intention of meeting the Illuminating Engineering Society’s recommendations, said Kristina Pettigrew, facilities coordinator of campus recreation. The society’s mission is “to improve the lighted environment by bringing together those with lighting knowledge and by translating that knowledge into actions that benefit the public,” according to its website.

“(The University is) entertaining (the idea of) campus going to LEDs, that is the future for most lights on campus,” Pettigrew said. “Especially because of energy savings, so they are really looking into this for the majority of areas. It is just a budgetary matter as to which departments choose to spend their money on it.”

Tim Madden, vice president of Engineering Concepts and Solutions, said the company worked with ARC representatives to fulfill their needs by suggesting the replacement of the University industrial lighting standard. The fluorescent T8 lamps were replaced by LEDs, which would also allow for the lights to be switched on and off individually rather than all at once.

“We approached (ARC representatives) with the idea of going LED,” Madden said. “LEDs were a little bit more expensive initially, but the energy savings will end up saving the University money.”

Madden also said the new design allowed for convenient and safe installation.

According to the Metalux specification sheet, Eaton, a power management company, had its Cooper Lighting department work to create the cost-efficient HBLED lights that have “precision designed optics, multiple distributions, lumen outputs and color temperatures (that) make the HBLED ideal for industrial, commercial, manufacturing, gymnasium and other applications that utilize traditional HID and linear fluorescent high bays.”

According to the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame, in 1962, University alumnus and professor Nick Holonyak Jr. invented the LED light that gives off a visible red light rather than an infrared light. Holonyak was awarded the 2015 Draper Prize — which honors engineers for their contribution to the field and promotes public awareness of the importance of science — for his work with LEDs.

The Illinois Climate Action Plan, iCAP, ensures that Holonyak’s legacy will continue with the University’s commitment to spread the use of LED lights across campus and make them the primary lights used. The iCAP was sent out in 2010 with goals for the campus to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Installing LED lights is not an entirely new venture. In 2010, the University switched 550 lighting fixtures in the lobby of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts with LED lights, which cut roughly four-fifths of lighting expenses.

In 2014, the Office of the Provost allocated $100,000 to fund the installment of 531 LED fixtures in eight campus buildings. Other campus projects which entail replacing lights with LED technology include 171 lamps at the Krannert Art Museum, Talbot Lab, Roger Adams Lab, the Vivarium, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and many more.

iCAP’s future major project is the construction of a 20.8 acre Solar Farm along the south side of Windsor Road between First Street and the railroad tracks.

On her blog, Chancellor Phyllis Wise wrote, “The LED has changed the world in which we live. From the mundane of better traffic lights to revolutionizing communications technology, the little red light that Nick turned on 50 years ago is still guiding us forward and opening new avenues of exploration and learning.”

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