Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Changing Light Bulbs in the Architecture School Leads to Big Energy Savings

Campbell Hall, home of the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture, is one of the newest projects of Delta Force, a Facilities Management project to re-commission buildings on Grounds to conserve energy.

Delta Force’s initial thrust was to replace nearly all of Campbell Hall’s lights with more energy-efficient lamps.

“Peak lighting wattage in the building has been reduced from 131.4 kilowatts to 83.3 kilowatts – a whopping 37 percent,” said Jenna Godfrey, sustainability coordinator at the School of Architecture.

It saves a lot of energy and reduces carbon dioxide emissions, said Jesse Warren, an energy engineer with Facilities Management. “We estimate that the lighting retrofit will save approximately 244,000 kilowatt hours per year. At current electric rates, that represents almost $20,000 per year in avoided electric cost. This corresponds to approximately 139 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent avoided annually.”

Godfrey, a third-year urban and environmental planning major, said it is important to be aware of how much energy everything is using.

“This brings to light what replacing a light bulb can do,” she said. “It’s a small step in our own homes, and this shows what replacing almost 3,000 bulbs can do. It promotes awareness.”

Architecture School Dean Kim Tanzer said Delta Force’s work has contributed to the school’s education effort. “The Delta Force team has methodically improved both the quality of our lighting and dramatically reduced our energy usage. Their efforts are a testament to the importance of systematic improvement with the goal of creating a sustainable environment. Because we teach our students these lessons in the classroom, it is wonderful to have this opportunity to learn through our environment, too.”  

More than 500 incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs were replaced with light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. High-intensity discharge lights in the studios have been replaced with more energy-efficient models. The work covered both interior and exterior lighting in Campbell Hall, the Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library, including the café, and the Carr’s Hill chiller plant.

Warren said Delta Force– a group of skilled technicians tasked with reviewing one University building at a time for ways to improve their energy efficiency – worked closely with the school’s faculty and staff.  “The School of Architecture has a long-standing commitment to sustainability. Since the building occupants were already engaged in energy conservation, they were very receptive to the Delta Force improvements,” he added.

“They had such an extensive variety of lights at the Architecture School,” he said. “They had at least one of everything.”

Warren said they began installing the fluorescent lights in May and finished the last of the LED lights about a week before classes started. He said the team installed a variety of lights under different conditions and let the faculty see how the light looked.

Delta Force will also be looking at the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system for energy savings once technicians finish installing digital controls on all the HVAC units.

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