Switching to LED lighting has fast become a go-to option for reducing energy needs everywhere from simple household use to major institutional applications. Once regarded as the expensive and unnecessary option to Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) or even older incandescent bulbs, LED lighting options have seen affordable price drops which make them a much more viable option for energy conservation. When coupled with benefits such as only using a third of the energy required for CFLs and 10 times the lifespan (the numbers change to a quarter of the energy and a 30 times longer lifespan when comparing to traditional incandescent bulbs), the choice to switch to LED lights is obvious from an energy conservation standpoint.
The University of Saskatchewan has recognized these benefits and has made strides in converting its energy infrastructure to LED equivalents. Newer buildings on campus are taking great advantage this technology: the Gordon Oakes-Red Bear Student Centre will use LED fixtures in approximately 2/3 of its lighting requirements, the upcoming 2nd floor renovations to Edwards School of Business will feature many LED replacements, and the newly developed parkade at Health Science E Wing was built entirely with LED fixtures and will serve as a model for similar projects. Looking to the future, there will soon be design specifications that require LED lighting to be implemented throughout any new developments on campus. The upcoming renovations to Health Science A and B wings reflect this goal, as all lighting in these areas – be it office, hallway, or supply closet – will be replaced with LED lighting.
The switch to LED is not limited to new construction projects on campus. Older buildings engaged in retrofitting processes are fantastic candidates for LED replacements as well. The Diefenbaker Centre’s latest renovations involved a large lighting replacement that converted the centre’s gallery bulbs to LED technology. An example particularly close to the Office of Sustainability’s heart are the upcoming changes to the Gordon Snelgrove Art Gallery: chosen as the first successfully funded project of the Campus Sustainability Revolving Fund, the Art Gallery will replace all of its halogen bulbs with LED equivalents that have been carefully chosen to reflect the specific needs of the gallery.
The University has recognized the benefit these changes offer to our utility infrastructure and is committed to identifying new opportunities to make the switch. Consultation processes are currently underway between the Office of Sustainability, Facilities Management, and Protective Services to find a way to replace the University’s outdoor street and walk lights with LED equivalents while maintaining high levels of campus safety and keeping new infrastructure costs low. This sort of process represents a level of cooperation to achieve sustainability initiatives on campus that the Office of Sustainability is proud of. We hope to see a near future where lighting on campus stands out as an effective and low-cost example of successful energy conservation.