by Patrick Giblin
The lights on the Wood Bridge on the Stockton campus were converted to LED to increase illumination in the area, thus improving safety. The lights also use less energy, thus saving costs. Numerous areas of campus have been converted to LED lights, making the campus more sustainable.
New Energy-Efficient LEDs Shining a Light on Sustainability at PacificLatest lighting project will also increase safety on the Stockton Campus
Pacific is looking a lot brighter these days, and a team of students and Pacific employees can be thanked for that.
During the past two years, Physical Plant electricians have been methodically converting fixtures on the Stockton campus to modern, light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, a type of output that uses a fraction of the energy that a conventional light bulb uses.
Almost all the outside lights in the Quad area of campus and other lighting across the Stockton campus use the power-saving fixtures. The most recent change has been to the lights on the Wood Bridge, a vital pedestrian link between the north and central campus.
The project was proposed as a way to make the Stockton campus more energy efficient, but the lights have been embraced by campus safety officials because they allow officers to see in areas that normally remained dark with conventional lights.
"The largest project was to replace the 60 high-pressure outdoor sodium fixtures in the Quad area last year," said Scott Heaton, director of Support Services. "Because LED fixtures use a fraction of the power that regular lights use, but also last up to 12 years, it was estimated the project will pay for itself in fewer than five years, and will save the University more than $50,000 during the life of the LED fixtures."
The Cowell Wellness Center recently had a major component of its air conditioning system changed. The new "chiller" that was installed uses less energy than the previous unit, thus making the campus more sustainable more
The idea of changing the way Pacific is illuminated sparked from a meeting of Pacific's Sustainability Committee, of which Heaton is a member. The committee considered a three-year project to change all the lights on campus, however that plan was refocused to tackle key areas of campus. Heaton approached the School of Engineering and Computer Science for help with the electrical savings calculations and met with Professor Cherian Mathews and electrical engineering students Jay Brink '13, Steve Brown '13 and Michael Roberts '13.
"I learned a lot from this project, which included attending meetings with Scott Heaton's people and calculating all the numbers demonstrating the savings," said Brink, 22. "I initially thought that the lights would eventually pay for themselves but was surprised to find that they will do more than that. The University will save a significant amount of money during the life of each fixture, which convinced me that sustainability efforts can be business-friendly and definitely are cost effective."
The Quads were the first to switch over to LED lighting. The fixtures used for the basement steps in each Quad residence hall also were changed to modern options. This year, many other lights on campus have been converted, including all of the illumination across Wood Bridge. The project also will save energy and money, but was done primarily to improve safety on campus.
"The new lights are a significant improvement on the bridge," said Mike Belcher, director of Public Safety at Pacific. "The new lights illuminate the sides of the river bank and allow us to see if anyone is under the bridge at night. It makes a huge difference for campus safety."
Physical Plant electricians finished the bridge re-illumination project in June. It's not known yet what the University will save on lighting costs, but given previous LED projects' performance, Heaton said he has no doubt the new Wood Bridge lights will add to Pacific's savings.
The University plans to convert all exterior lights on campus to LED over the next five years, provided resources are available, Heaton said.