Whittemore Hall lighting upgrades to deliver significant environmental benefits, cost savings
Nearly 5,600 older lighting fixtures in Whittemore Hall were recently replaced or retrofitted with new LED fixtures. The lighting upgrades are expected to save the university more than $80,000 in annual energy and maintenance costs.
The lighting project was catalyzed by the Five-Year Energy Action Plan, an Office of Energy Management and Facilities Department initiative driven by the goal of boosting energy conservation in the 50 most energy-intensive buildings on the Virginia Tech Blacksburg campus.
Whittemore Hall project highlights include:
- Approximately 5,600 light fixtures replaced with LED installed throughout the building’s interior and exterior.
- $80,000 annual energy and maintenance cost savings (expected).
- 66 percent reduction in the initial lighting load in the building.
- 983,000 pounds reduced greenhouse gas emissions per year (expected, CO2-e).
- Improved interior and exterior illumination that will enhance learning and safety.
Furthermore, fluorescent work lighting and tungsten stage lighting were also replaced with LED lights in the Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS) Multi-Media Production Studio in Whittemore Hall. The new energy-efficient lighting will help the TLOS team deliver high-quality multimedia content for education and instruction in a more relaxed environment for on-camera talent. The previous fluorescent lighting emanated a significant amount of heat, so the new LEDs will help make longer recording sessions more comfortable and cooler.
The new lighting in Whittemore Hall is expected to pay for itself within five years.
“From boosting energy conservation, to delivering cost savings and enhanced safety for students, faculty, and staff, the lighting upgrades in Whittemore Hall will offer countless benefits for the campus community today – and beyond,” said Ruben Avagyan, campus energy manager.
“We're thrilled by the recent LED lighting upgrades in the Manufacturing Process Center," shared Scott Lancaster, laboratory instrument maker supervisor. “It is a much brighter working environment for students.”
The old lamps and ballasts were detached from the old fixtures and recycled according to university hazardous waste management guidelines. The scrap metal from the old fixtures was recycled, reducing the amount of solid waste sent to the landfill and carbon emissions that would have been created by its disposal.
The Five-Year Energy Action Plan energy conservation efforts support the larger Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment (VTCAC). VTCAC, approved in 2009 and reaffirmed in 2013, serves as a cornerstone for guiding the university toward a greener, more sustainable future. It touches on all aspects of university sustainability, including campus operations, facilities, curriculum, and research.
VTCAC commits Virginia Tech to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and to improving energy efficiency where and whenever possible in campus buildings.
Whittemore Hall is used for academic classrooms and laboratories, largely for the College of Engineering.