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MIT Begins Lighting Project

MIT will install energy-efficient lighting in 90 percent of its building space over the next five years as a partner in the EPA's Green Lights program.

According to information from Physical Plant, "because lighting is such a large consumer of electricity, and so wasteful, the Green Lights program offers a substantial opportunity to prevent pollution and to do so at a profit.

"Lighting upgrades reduce electric bills and maintenance costs, and increase lighting quality. [In addition], every kilowatt-hour of electricity not used prevents the emission of 1.5 pounds of carbon dioxide (the most important greenhouse gas), 5.8 grams of sulfur dioxide (a principal component of acid rain), and 2.5 grams of nitrogen oxides (precursors to both acid rain and smog)."

The Physical Plant information also says that "if energy-efficient lighting were used wherever profitable, the nation's demand for electricity could be cut by more than 10 percent. . . In terms of carbon dioxide, energy-efficient lighting offers the same pollution prevention opportunity as taking 42 million cars off the road, the equivalent of one-third the US fleet."

By becoming an EPA Green Lights Partner, MIT has agreed to:

  • Appoint an implementation manager to coordinate the program. (Bill Wohlfarth, senior electrical engineer in Physical Plant, has been named to that position.)
  • ������Survey the lighting in all of its facilities. (EUA Cogenex Corporation is currently performing this work with MIT personnel.)
  • ������Consider a full range of lighting options to reduce energy use.
  • ������Upgrade 90 percent of its facilities with the options that maximize energy savings to the extent that the upgrade is profitable and does not compromise lighting quality.
  • ������Complete upgrades within the next five years.
  • Annually document the improvements it makes.
  • Design all new facilities to meet most current building efficiency standards.
  • ������Educate all employees about the benefits of energy-efficient lighting.

MIT recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the EPA committing the Institute to these activities. In return, the EPA has committed to providing a wide variety of products and services designed to make the job easier.

For more information, call George Kilmarx, engineering projects manager at Physical Plant, at x3-0509, or Mr. Wohlfarth at x3-1741.

A version of this article appeared in the July 15, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 1).

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