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LED Lighting in Rockefeller Hall

Lighting constitutes a significant electrical draw on power. Vassar has set a new carbon neutrality goal of 2030, and so, is seeking to reduce electricity use.

To this end, Vassar is upgrading the lighting systems in five buildings on campus. One of the buildings being upgraded is Rockefeller Hall, which a general academic building home to the Mathematics, Philosophy, and Political Science Departments. The lighting in this building posed a specific problem due to the varied fixtures that are often in high use.

The renovations of all five buildings will reduce the total electricity used on campus by 5.5%. The use of LED lights will also reduce maintenance costs due to the LED bulb’s longevity compared to some current bulbs.

As well as the electricity benefits, the project will hopefully benefit Rockefeller hall by standardizing all of the lighting fixtures throughout the building, creating a more pleasing lighting environment. This change will also save $13,056.33 annual in energy savings and pay itself off in 2.66 years. Vassar is funding the project, but due to energy incentives, utilities will be paying about 1/3 of the total cost.

Many people, including Marianne Begemann, dean of strategic planning, are excited about the project and the reduction of energy use and the associated environmental impacts. Begemann believes that "[r]educing the College's electricity usage is essential if we are to reach our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.  The ongoing work to convert existing fluorescent and incandescent lights to LED fixtures, such as the recent conversion in Rockefeller Hall, is a step in that direction.  The conversion to LEDs, especially in high use areas such as Rockefeller, pays for itself in just a few years through energy savings and so it is a win-win for the College."

The LEDs in Rockefeller Hall will reduce college energy use by 124,346 kWh, which is equivalent to not releasing 87.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Eighty seven point four metric tons of carbon dioxide is the amount of carbon dioxide released to produce the energy to power 9.2 homes for one year.

If you have ideas for how Vassar could continue to reduce our energy usage, visit the Sustainability Office in Main or email sustainability@vassar.edu.

- Rachel Strout ‘20, Sustainability Intern