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Energy Efficient Lighting Helps Universities Improve Student Safety

New energy efficient lighting projects on college campuses are helping cut electric usage, reduce costs and improve student safety..

New energy efficient lighting projects on college campuses are helping cut electric usage, reduce costs and improve student safety..

Installing energy efficient lighting fixtures including light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can not only help universities reduce their energy usage and costs, but the lighting solutions can create a safe environment for students, especially those walking around campus at night. Some schools across the country have already upgraded to energy efficient lighting or are considering doing so.

The University of Washington’s student government group Associated Students has proposed making safety improvements on campus by upgrading current lighting fixtures to LED​ lamps. Currently, the campus uses high-pressure sodium light bulbs to light the campus, which do not always provide the best lighting situations.

According to The Daily of the University of Washington, the sodium lights bleed off light and it is not concentrated in the areas where a well-lit area light is most needed. If the new LED lights are installed, they would help with directing light toward the ground and eliminate the issue of light pointing toward the sky that is experienced with the current system.

Officials from the university, including the campus police, are also supporting the lighting upgrade, The Daily reported.

“Better lighting is an advantage for students as well as for law enforcement,”  said Cmdr. Steve Rittereiser​ with the University of Washington Police Deparment. “Crime becomes more apparent, and that helps us to respond to it faster.”

Alongside the safety benefits of installing LED lighting throughout campus, the school could also see an economic benefit. Since LEDs last much longer than traditional, less efficient lighting, the school would be able to reduce its maintenance costs. The Daily said the LED lighting would last as long as 12 years, compared to the current lights that last only five years.

The off-campus area of the university will also be getting a lighting upgrade this summer thanks to a lighting upgrade project through the City of Seattle.

Austin Community College campus improves student safety
Another school improved student safety after switching to an LED lighting system in the school’s parking lot. Northridge Campus, part of the Austin Community College District in Texas, had several goals in mind when they decided to invest in an LED lighting retrofit project.

According to the school, the project was completed to create a more safe and secure environment in the dark parking lot. The school said it replaced more than 100,1,000-watt high-pressure sodium lights and about 32, 400-watt metal halide lights with 265-watt and 250-watt LED lights. Forty-seven courtyard lights and 21 building perimeter lights were also replaced with more efficient LED lamps, according to the school.

The school said it was also able to reduce energy consumption by 69 percent as part of the outdoor lighting project.

If a school is considering upgrading their lighting solutions, energy efficiency consultants at Lumenistics can provide a more detailed consultation.

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