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Hiram College Sees the Light

Did you know that Hiram College was voted the most well-lit campus in the United States 4 years in a row? Well, it wasn’t, but if there were such an award, I’m sure we’d be nominated.

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[Coleman Center, photo credit: Hastings+Chivetta]

The fact is, we have TONS of lights, indoor and out, that do some huge damage to our energy bills and inflate our carbon footprint. To find out just how much energy the lights are sapping, I followed two electricity engineers, Rich and Steve, around campus as they took measurements as part of a light audit.

The exciting news is that Hiram College is currently undergoing a "re-lamp"— we’re replacing older light technologies with newer, brighter, longer-lasting and more efficient technologies. This may seem like a small change, but Rich assured me that the savings will add up QUICK and we can kick those savings into larger, energy saving projects. This means a reduced energy bill, which translates into reduced carbon emissions. And, with the measurements Rich and Steve took, we can calculate how much energy we’re actually saving by taking additional measurements after the re-lamp.b2ap3_thumbnail_pic-1.jpg

Hiram employs several types of bulbs or “light technologies” to accommodate the needs of differently sized and shaped rooms. Rich and Steve measured the watt-usage for two of each light technology in each building. Clamping a little red claw (see photo at right) around the light wiring, they determined how much energy is actually flowing through the wire to the lights. These figures allow them to understand how much energy different types of light technologies use in different areas on campus.   

Each replacement Hiram makes will save at least 3 Watts of energy per hour. Some replacements will save up to 10 Watts and some even more! We’re also replacing the ballasts, which control how much energy flows to the bulbs, with more efficient, up-to-date models. Multiply those savings by the heaps of light fixtures we have on campus, and you start to get some BIG numbers (see table below, from eartheasy.com).

 

LED

CFL

Incandescent

Light bulb projected lifespan

50,000 hours

10,000 hours

1,200 hours

Cost per bulb

$35.95

$3.95

$1.25

Bulbs needed for 50kWh of use

1

5

42

Total cost for 50kWh

$85.75

$89.75

$352.50

Hiram has the ability to save huge amounts of energy by replacing a plethora of lights, starting small is a strategy we can employ in the TREE House and that you can employ at your home. Replacing your bulbs can slim down your bills and help you save up for those big changes you want to make (Solar Panels?!).  We can start by replacing our old, conventional bulbs with compact fluorescent models. Then, when the savings start to roll in, we can replace our inefficient heaters and drafty windows.  Start small, but dream big. 

 

 

LED

CFL

Incandescent

Light bulb projected lifespan

50,000 hours

10,000 hours

1,200 hours

Watts per bulb (equiv. 60 watts)

10

14

60

Cost per bulb

$35.95

$3.95

$1.25

KWh of electricity used over 
50,000 hours

300-500

700

3000

Cost of electricity (@ 0.10per KWh)

$50

$70

$300

Bulbs needed for 50k hours of use

1

5

42

Equivalent 50k hours bulb expense

$35.95

$19.75

$52.50

Total cost for 50k hours

$85.75

$89.75

$352.50

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Nate Frances '14 is an environmental studies and religious studies major, from Shalersville, Ohio.

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