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Bright Idea for Savings

By the end of the year, all 514 lighting fixtures in the patient and visitors garage at the University Campus will be replaced, as part of an energy efficiency upgrade that will save UMass Chan Medical School money and reduce the energy used by the garage lights by more than two-thirds. 

The garage on south road was built with metal halide lights, each of which draws 190 watts. The new fixtures now being installed use LED (light emitting diode) lights, and will throw at least as much light as the old fixtures but draw only 51 watts of electricity. 

“Retrofitting lighting is one of the quickest ways to save energy on campus,” said Matthew Stelmach, senior electrical project manager, who is overseeing the lighting project. “We expect to save up to $80,000 a year in reduced energy costs from this project.” 

The total cost of the lighting upgrade is approximately $302,000 - $94,240 of which will be covered by a rebate from National Grid, UMass Chan Medical School’s external electricity supplier. “We are proud to be partners in sustainability with UMass Chan Medical School and provide incentives to assure this important work continues,” said Aleta Fazzone, regional director of community and customer management for National Grid. “We are passionate about energy efficiency, environmental protection and sustainability. We view UMass Chan Medical School as an important customer whose vision and leadership in saving energy and being a steward of the environment spans decades.” 

With the National Grid rebate, and other grant funds that are anticipated, the garage lighting upgrade will pay for itself in just two years based on the energy savings alone, Stelmach said. Furthermore, saving on the cost to run the lights is not the only benefit. The new LED lights have a projected useful life of five to seven years, while the existing lights have a rated lifespan of approximately two years, but often don’t last that long. “Our electricians spend a lot of time in that garage replacing the lamps and the ballasts, so there will be a significant savings in maintenance costs as well,” Stelmach said. 

The lighting replacement project is proceeding in four phases, with the entire project scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The work is being done by Renaud Electric & Communications, under the direction of Todd Manning, senior construction manager in the UMass Chan's facilities engineering and construction department. 

“For public safety and visibility’s sake, the lights in the garage need to be on all the time, so this major reduction is energy usage is an important step for the campus,” said Melissa Lucas, sustainability and energy efficiency manager at the Medical School.