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The HWS Update

Fluorescent Enlightenment

Library Makes Use of Energy Efficient Lighting

As of late February, brilliance has been found in more than just the library’s books — it is now in its lighting as well. Buildings and Grounds has been hard at work replacing over 2,500 inefficient 32 watt fluorescent bulbs with a more eco-friendly 25 watt version of the fluorescent tube light. The change is thanks to the conceptualizing and planning of Provost Teresa Amott, Buildings and Grounds Assistant Director Scott Woodworth, Interim Library Director Sara Greenleaf and Mechanical Trades Manager Chad Bouffiou.

“As one of the largest buildings on campus, we knew that a lighting change in the library would make a substantial difference in lowering energy cost and usage,” says Greenleaf. “However, we also knew how important lighting is in the library, so we chose bulbs that would be energy efficient but wouldn’t sacrifice visibility.”

“The bulbs being used for this project are very new to the market,” explains Woodworth. “They’re four foot General Electric low-wattage fluorescent tube bulbs that give as much light as the 32 watt bulbs that they’ll replace. They will also save the Colleges 114,300 kWh of electricity, 11.1 tons of CO2 and over $12,000 per year.”

“It may be just a seven watt difference per bulb but that amounts to a huge difference with over 2,500 bulbs,” says Assistant Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies Tom Drennen. “These G.E. bulbs will pay for themselves in seven months with what they’ll save the Colleges. It was an easy choice.”

And in fact, the choice began with student research. “During a summer internship, senior Robert Reid studied the energy use on campus and proposed innovative ways to reduce energy use and carbon emissions,” says Drennen. “The library’s lighting was one of those recommendations.”

With a future that is already bright, the eco-friendly changes in the library are far from over. “We’ve already converted the reference computers from unlimited printing to the typical quota-based printing for students in an effort to reduce paper waste in the library,” explains Greenleaf. “We’re currently planning a remodeling of parts of the library, and we’ve had the environment in mind since the earliest stages.”

The lighting change in the library is one of many environmentally conscious initiatives started on campus after President Mark D. Gearan signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment on Sept. 14.

“We’re exploring what else technology can do to help our overall effort to reduce carbon emissions on campus,” says Drennen. “Devices like motion-sensor lighting and other smart lighting could be an obvious first step.”