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Shining a Better Light on Research at LRB

A project is underway to replace more than 14,000 fluorescent light bulbs in the laboratories at the Lazare Research Building with LED bulbs that use less than half the electricity. When completed, the new lighting will save more than $60,000 a year in electric generation costs.

“The LED lights will use about 200,000 watts less than the old bulbs. That’s a huge savings,” said David Fitzgerald, lead electrician in the medical school’s facilities department, who is coordinating the bulb replacement project.

The work began in January on the 9th floor of the LRB and is expected to take three months to complete. Some 12,300 four-foot long fluorescent bulbs that consume 28 watts each will be replaced with LED bulbs rated at 15 watts. Another 2,300 compact fluorescent bulbs that use 26 watts each will be replaced by LEDs that use just 9 watts.

Beyond the 55 percent reduction in electricity used, the LED bulbs have a longer lifespan, expected to last up to five years each. “So that means a lot of savings in manpower, not having to change bulbs as often,” Fitzgerald noted.

The bulb replacement project is supported by the Mass Save Upstream program that subsidizes the costs of lighting efficiency upgrades. For the LRB project, the medical school paid just $1 per bulb by purchasing from NorthEast Electrical Distributors through the Mass Save program.

“Mass Save is a great partner for this project,” said Suzanne Wood, sustainability and energy manager at UMass Chan. “Reducing energy consumption and the associated greenhouse gas emissions is always part of our strategy, and it helps when we can access financial incentives to become more efficient.”

 Photo: Fred Yanni, left, and Edwin Baez install new LED bulbs in the LRB.