Earlier this year, TRU replaced 450 outdoor lights, leading to a 33 per cent reduction in energy costs.
The project, which saw street lamps and light standards in TRU’s parking lots changed from fluorescent bulbs to LEDs, cost the university $90,000.
Now, TRU’s sustainability department is looking to take on a larger project. In order to cut energy costs even further, TRU will have nearly all existing fluorescent light fixtures converted to LEDs.
This isn’t a new idea. Director of Environment and Sustainability Jim Gudjonson has said that his department has been observing lighting technology for years and said that now may be the best time to make the switch.
“Lighting companies have all been going through different generations of LED so quickly that you almost needed a new one every year because it of it,” Gudjonson said. “Now it seems to have settled down, where now we have 12-watt LED lights available.”
For comparison, most of TRU’s current lights are either 28 or 32 watts. Gudjonson predicts that the changing from the old fluorescents to the new LEDs could cut indoor lighting costs by a third of what they are now.
Though $75,000 a year is predicted to be saved in energy costs and around $40,000 a year will be saved in maintenance cost avoidance, the project itself will cost $620,000.
However, TRU is not without help, as BC Hydro has pledged to cover a third of the costs as part of their Demand Side Management program. With this program, which gives companies around B.C. incentive to cut energy costs, Gudjonson expects the university to pay back the costs of the project in three and a half years.
Work on the light fixtures has already begun, though Gudjonson has promised that the approximately two-month-long project will not affect class schedules.
“The contractors will work around our schedules. So they will be doing lots of work in the evening and they’ll be working on the weekends too,” Gudjonson said.