April 12, 2013

Reg lightens its energy load

In an effort to increase energy efficiency across campus, the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services will be installing a new, greener lighting system in the book stacks of the Regenstein Library. The University expects the new system to cut energy usage by approximately 783,000 kilowatt-hours, reducing costs by approximately $66,000.

The project, which started on March 25 and will run through May, aims not only to reduce the energy used by the building, but also to make the book stacks easier to navigate.

Automated motion sensors, which are currently being installed, will automatically activate the lights for the individual aisles of the second through the fifth floors of the book stacks. Instead of the existing system of manual light switches that turn off automatically after 15 minutes, the new lights will turn off after five minutes without motion activity. A study of the length of time people spend in the book stacks conducted by Reg staff during winter quarter of last year determined the time interval.

The lighting system on the B-level will be incorporated with the existing floor sensors, which currently control the movement of the shelves to activate and deactivate lighting.

The initiative is part of a broader campus-wide energy efficiency program launched in 2009 by a donation from Jim Crown, member of the Board of Trustees, and Paula Crown, member of the University Women’s Board.

“We initiated a campus-wide energy audit to identify achievable energy conservation measures within our buildings,” Ilsa Flanagan, director for the Office of Sustainability, said in an e-mail.

After completing the energy audits, the Office of Sustainability ranked each facility by energy intensity—or the amount of energy consumption in dollars—and selected the buildings with the highest ranking.

“The lighting upgrades in Regenstein Library is one of over 30 different energy efficiency projects we have or are conducting on campus—in our labs, offices, libraries, and gyms,” Flanagan stated. These projects, according to the Sustainability Web site, include insulating buildings to reduce heat flow out of the building, and retrofitting or refurbishing buildings with energy efficient equipment.

As of now, the installation will take place from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays in selected aisles. Consequently, patrons will only be permitted to access items from the affected aisles after 3 p.m. Installation of the sensor lights from the second to the fifth floors is expected to take one day per aisle, while integrating the lighting system of each aisle with the current shelving system on the B-level is expected to take two to three days per bay to complete.