Students, Staff Members Help Swarthmore Switch on Energy Efficient Lighting

Linda Hou '13

Students, Staff Members Help Dining
Hall Switch on Energy Efficient Lighting

by Linda Hou '13
5/3/2011

students, staff switchout sharples lightbulbs
"It's a saving in both electricity and manpower," says Camille Robertson '13, "and it's great to work together on a cross-campus project toward campus sustainability."

On Earth Day, students joined members of the facilities department to replace hundreds of lightbulbs in Sharples Dining Hall's iconic chandeliers with more energy efficient and cost-effective LED lights. Director of Maintenance Ralph Thayer estimates that the switch, funded through the Student Council-created Renewing Fund for Resource Conservation, will save about 130,350 kilowatt hours, 79 tons of carbon, and $26,584 over five years.

"These LEDs will last for 10 years, whereas the other light bulbs will have to be replaced every six month," says Camille Robertson '13, a student liaison to the Sustainability Committee from Williamstown, Mass. "It's a saving in both electricity and manpower, and it's great to work together on a cross-campus project toward campus sustainability."

Thayer says he has wanted to undergo the change for a long time, but it was difficult to find LED lights that were both cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing. In the past few years, Thayer has tested various light bulbs before finally finding ones that worked.

In addition to replacing the lights in Sharples, Facilities is also working to replace fluorescent lamps on campus with smaller T8 light bulbs, which will save about 12 watts per light bulb.

"Our hope is, as LED technology improves and as other lights get burned out, we can replace them with something that's better and cheaper," Thayer says. "Energy conservation is something like a religion down here."