Centre College’s largest single sustainability project to date has been completed.
The College made an institutional commitment in its 2009 Climate Action Plan, led by former President John Roush, to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. One major step was taken in the past year: upgrade campus lighting to improve the durability and efficiency of lighting across campus, while making both indoor and outdoor spaces brighter and safer.
“The lighting project is by far our most ambitious sustainability project to date,” said Centre Chief Financial Officer Brian Hutzley. “It was a 10-month effort to implement, and it impacted every building and every space.”
Improved efficiency will save the College an estimated $240,000 annually and approximately 1.69 million kilowatt-hours of energy each year. Those savings translate to $4.8 million in savings by 2040 and approximately 1,200 tons of CO2 emissions avoided each year.
Preston Miles, Walkup Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and former chair of the President’s Climate Commitment Advisory Committee at the College, said the project is a huge step forward in multiple areas for Centre.
“This lighting upgrade project is a great example of how investment in energy efficiency reduces greenhouse gas emissions and also reduces energy costs, bulb replacement and labor costs, and improves overall campus lighting and safety,” Miles said.
The College completed the project with Tenzing Energy Solutions out of Nashville, Tennessee, Wiley Electric based in Stanford, Kentucky, and Kentucky Utilities (KU). The project was a direct result of the campus energy master plan, according to Hutzley.
“Our strong partnership with Tenzing, Wiley Electric and KU was critical. A direct and intentional benefit was the improved safety with the noticeable improvements to exterior lighting.”
Upgrading the lighting was identified as the top priority within the energy master plan, Hutzley said. The College borrowed $30 million through a bond issuance that funded the project. In total, 23,256 lamps were upgraded across campus. New LED lights provide more durability and GE fixtures light walkways at night for improved student safety.
The project also added Autani Lighting Controls to buildings, which improve savings by 30 percent. Indoor and outdoor tennis courts were upgraded and now adhere to NCAA standards of play.
Miles said that it was an effort from the senior staff level that made the campus lighting and sustainability initiative possible.
“This initiative by Brian Hutzley and the board of trustees is an important step toward our goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040,” he said.
by Matt Overing
September 14, 2020