Fluorescent Light Bulbs
The 23 watt Westpointe™ Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs we use replace a typical 100 watt standard incandescent light bulb. We use ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs in the bedrooms, common spaces, and bathrooms of each residence hall and apartment-style unit. They are also used to provide light for our office spaces on the 1st and 3rd floors of A Building.
T8 Fluorescent Ballasts
A few years ago, we replaced all of our T12 Ballasts with T8 Ballasts, which use 70% as much energy. Ballasts convert electricity into a charge that can be used by fluorescent tubes and bulbs. 30% less may not seem like that much less, but the fluorescent tubes in the residence halls are usually on 24 hours a day, and when the number of tubes and the amount of time they are on are taken into account, the dollar amount of energy saved is significant.
Light Emitting Diod (LED) lighting
LED lighting is the next step in improved sustainability. While the conversion to LED lighting from non-LED may require a little work, the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.
LED Tubes vs Fluorescent Tubes
Compared to the current fluorescent lighting used by RAD, LEDs are 80% more efficient and provide over 50,000 hours of lighting. This is a significant improvement on the typical maximum of 15,000 for fluorescent tubes. Putting this into perspective, if you left the LED lights on for 8 hours every day, they would last about 17 year, while the fluorescent lights would only last about 5 years.
As if that wasn’t enough, LED lights do not contain mercury, which is highly toxic and can lead to disposal issues. They don’t flicker, which can cause headaches and make it difficult to concentrate, and they are shatter proof.
What We're Doing
All of these factors make LED lighting a shoo-in for RAD Sustainability improvements. The CEC awarded RAD a grant for the installation of LED lighting in Mod 303, which was completed in the summer of 2012.