A small change to the Ware Center will have a big impact on Millersville University’s (MU) sustainability efforts.
Ware Center staff replaced the light bulbs throughout Lyet lobby with new, energy-efficient LED lights. All told, 93 light bulbs were replaced, said Jim Smith, Ware Center facility manager.
While the Ware Center has canceled all events, conferences and performances through May 15, in accordance with CDC guidelines in response to the current coronavirus pandemic, this sustainability project ensures that the building will begin saving money now and into the future. The project to replace old light bulbs has actually been a year-long process, Smith said. When the old Halogen 250-watt bulbs would go out, Smith began replacing them with LED bulbs.
However, there are major challenges to such a project.
“The Ware Center was designed by famous architects, so the look of the building is very important,” Smith said.
Finding the right type of LED bulb was challenging. Earlier LED’s were not available in the warmer color temperature of the existing lights, could not match the output of the previously used Halogen bulbs and were expensive. Lights that have a warmer temperature have less illumination for the same wattage, Smith said. Some of the lights also illuminated too wide instead of running straight down the wall, which affected the pattern design of the building.
The staff also replaced dimmers that work in accordance with the new bulbs, at a total cost of around $1,150. The 93 new bulbs cost about $800 total with rebates. The federal government and local municipalities offer a number of incentives and government rebates for LED lighting. Local and federal rebates and incentives can help offset the cost of installing energy-efficient LED lighting, in addition to the operational savings recognized through lower utility and maintenance costs.
The new lights will pay for themselves in three months through their electricity cost savings and after that will save MU about $7,000 annually, according to Chris Steuer, Millersville’s sustainability director. The project should also reduce the Ware Center’s electricity use by about seven percent.
The annual electricity savings of 85,000 kilowatt-hour from this one project are enough to run the Lombardo Welcome Center for eight months, Steuer added, and it’ll also save about 29 tons of carbon dioxide annually, about the same as planting 500 trees.