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A bright idea saves energy at Pine Tree lot

All of the lighting poles and fixtures in the Pine Tree parking lot and along South Road adjacent to the lot have been replaced with fixtures that use less than half of the electricity of the old ones, while providing better uniform illumination of the parking area.

The project arose from a campus lighting study by Cannon Design that recommended steps to improve the safety of employees who utilize the Pine Tree lot at night.

“It’s great when a project achieves two important goals, both improved safety as well as efficiency” said Jeremy Careau, senior electrical project manager at UMass Chan, who oversaw the project. “We’ll see significant energy savings with better lighting.”

The old lights were a mix of metal halide and high-pressure sodium lamps that used between 250 and 320 watts of electricity each. The new fixtures are LEDs that use 70 to 102 watts each. The annual energy savings will be 44,441 kilowatt hours, which is enough electricity to power four average single-family homes in the Northeast for a year.

The old fixtures cast a yellow/orange light while the new LED fixtures cast a cooler blue light that is better for outdoor illumination, Careau said. The new lights also better focus the field of illumination down into the parking lot, with less light pollution off-site.