A Bright Idea that Saves Money at the IHP
Here's a money-saving idea that truly started when a light bulb went … off.
More than a year ago Gary Kittell, associate vice president for Physical Plant Services, asked employees to think about how Upstate could save energy and money on utility bills. Ric Burr, an electrician at the Institute for Human Performance, thought of the 20 incandescent 620-watt bulbs on the 10 stacks rising from the roof of the IHP, and how often they blew and had to be replaced – sometimes twice a year. And knowing how expensive incandescent bulbs are to power compared to LED (Light-Emitting Diodes) units, Burr investigated and learned the stack housings could be retrofitted with LEDs.
"It just came to me," Burr said of his idea. "It just made sense."
With the blessings of the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates lighting on buildings and towers, Burr and his co-workers swapped out the 620-watt incandescents for 7-watt LEDs. The new units use 90 percent less energy, Burr said, and have a life span of 15-plus years.
Cost and energy savings:
- $5,000 per year on the IHP utility bill
- A reduction of 58,700 kilowatt hour usage per year
Buying and installing the LED lights with in-house labor cost $2,500, which will be recouped in six months, Kittell said.
In 2009, Upstate president David R. Smith, MD signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), committing the university to become "carbon neutral" by 2050.
Upstate submitted its first Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory in 2010, and began work on a Climate Action Plan that was completed and submitted to the ACUPCC in May 2011.