MIT President Susan Hockfield led a ceremony June 9 to re-light Building 10's iconic Great Dome. The 12 new energy-efficient fixtures use the same amount of electricity needed to run two hair dryers to illuminate the dome, the Roman numerals that spell out 1916 (the year the building opened) and the limestone faÃ§ade.
The new lighting system incorporates energy-saving light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures and is made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor. The donor also provided funds to help pay for a 40-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array to be connected to MIT's electrical grid. This new solar power system will ultimately provide three to four times the electrical energy consumed by the dome lighting, according to the chief engineer on the project. The purchase of this solar array also is supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 13, 2007 (download PDF).