PSU Lighting the Path Toward Sustainability

September 9th, 2010 by Adam

Some small changes at Plymouth State University are adding up to big savings, and helping the environment, too. Lighting is an energy intensive need that often goes unnoticed by those using institutional facilities, but with the help of federal grant funding, PSU has improved it’s lighting to save both energy and money.

PSU employee Don Perrin with new, energy efficient lights
PSU employee Don Perrin displays new, energy efficient lights being installed in the Draper Maynard building. The new lights provide more illumination and cost less to operate.

This summer, six buildings on campus were retrofitted with new lighting fixtures and/or occupancy sensors, and the impacts of this retrofit project are surprisingly large.

Previously, the old light fixtures consumed 85 kilowatts of electricity. They were replaced with fixtures that consume only 59 kilowatts. In addition, motion, day lighting and sonic sensors have been installed in many locations to ensure that lights are used only when needed. These changes are estimated to lower overall electricity consumption by 300,000 KWH, and electricity costs are expected to be reduced by $45,000 annually. Brian Eisenhauer, PSU’s Director of Environmental Sustainability, said the combination of saving energy and reducing electric bills are exactly what “being green” means.

“When people think of sustainability, highly visible projects like wind power, solar panels, or other large scale technological changes often come to mind,” said Eisenhauer. “The reality is, the real work to achieve sustainability involves very diverse efforts that include the simple everyday choices we make and the often unnoticed modern conveniences that make life and learning at a University possible.”

The lighting retrofit project included faculty offices, classrooms, hallways and other shared spaces, and perhaps most notably, lighting in the Silver Center for the Arts. Surprisingly, the new fixtures installed actually produce more light than the ones they replace, despite consuming less electricity!

The retrofit project was paid for by stimulus funding from the federal government, directed by the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning.

There are many other sustainability efforts underway, with details available at the Office of Environmental Sustainability . Plymouth State University looks forward to continuing to work with students, staff, faculty, and the broader community to create a more sustainable future.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or