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U Maryland Cuts Energy Usage with Mass Lighting Replacement

As part of a larger, ongoing energy conservation program, the University of Maryland in College Park recently overhauled lighting on its campus, a move that's expected to save 1.4 million kilowatt hours per year.

The institution replaced 12,000 light bulbs with 6,600 more energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs, which the the university reported will amount to about $153,000 in energy savings each year.

The campus chose Columbia Lighting e-poc fixtures from Hubbell Lighting.

According to Conservation Manager Susan Corry, the installation of the new lighting fixtures is part of a larger smart technology program expected to cut university energy costs substantially, conserve water, and replace old equipment that's reached the end of its useful life. When the program is done, it's expected to cut building energy usage by a fifth and to save $1.7 million a year.

In February 2010 the university's Sustainability Council set recommended policies on lighting levels to use throughout the campus, based on recommendations from the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. For example, offices, classrooms, and labs should have 30 to 50 foot candles, depending on the tasks on desks or table tops and hallways should have five to eight foot candles. A foot candle is the illumination equal to the amount of light produced by a single candle at a distance of one foot, equivalent to a little less than 11 lumens. Fifty foot candles would be nearly 550 lumens, equal to about 0.8 watts.

The university began its efforts by upgrading nine of the oldest and highest energy consuming buildings on the campus. In April 2009 the U Maryland signed a $20 million energy performance contract with Johnson Controls to retrofit those nine campus buildings. The campus has an overall goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. President C.D. Mote Jr. signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment in May 2007.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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