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A $1.5 million retrofit of lighting fixtures across the UCSD campus has recently been completed. Lights have been changed out in favor of more efficient units in offices, classrooms, meeting areas, warehouses, and other areas. The new systems are expected to save up to $210,000 per year in energy costs. Another phase of the project is expected to cut another $90,000 from the University’s power bill by 2012.

Some fixes were simple. Libraries and warehouse spaces with wall-to-wall rows of lighting were often found to be over-lit. In these cases, every other fixture was taken down, or 8 foot fixtures were replaced with more efficient 4 foot versions, still providing adequate lighting. 40,000 fluorescent lights were also replaced, with 34-watt lamps being replaced by 25-watt versions providing the same amount of light.

Other improvements were a bit more complex. Stairwells, required to be lit at all times for safety, had large lights replaced with two smaller units, one continuously operating and the second on a motion sensor to provide increased illumination when needed. Parking lots were equipped with similar lighting.

“During this time of unprecedented state budget cuts to higher education, our energy-saving projects are helping to significantly reduce our base operational costs,” said Gary C. Matthews, the University’s vice chancellor of Resource Management and Planning.

Part of the $1.5 million project was funded with $650,000 from the UC/CSU/Investor-Owned Utility Energy Efficiency Partnership, partially administered by SDG&E. The lighting initiative is part of a larger, $73 million push to cut energy consumption at 25 older buildings by $6 million per year. The campus aims to return to its 2000 energy consumption levels by 2014, and to be “climate neutral” by 2025.

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