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Lighting retrofit nets big savings

January 25, 2007

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The results of SFU Burnaby's $3-million energy-efficient lighting upgrade are in—and the savings are enough to offset the cost of the entire project within 10 years.

"We expected to save about $250,000 a year, or about 13-14 per cent of our total electrical expenditures, and reduce our electrical consumption by about 6.3 million kilowatt hours per year," says Sam Dahabieh, director of facilities management, who initiated the project.

"And we came within 95 per cent of that—mainly because actual usage was less than we estimated—with about $230,000 in cost savings and actual electrical energy savings of 5,995,000 kWh per year."

The two-year project entailed replacing all standard fluorescent light tubes on campus with energy efficient T8 lamps, replacing existing light ballasts with more efficient electronic ballasts and adding reflectors to increase light output.

Facilities management crews replaced lamps and ballasts in 33 buildings between September 2003 and October 2005. The savings were determined over a one-year period, primarily through the use of 250 "energy logger" monitoring devices provided by B.C. Hydro as part of its Power Smart incentive program.

The greatest savings were achieved at W.A.C. Bennett library; a 1.5-million kWh-per-year drop in electrical energy use, followed by the Academic Quadrangle (657,000 kWh), Chancellor's Gym (477,000 kWh), West Mall Centre (462,000 kWh), the Applied Sciences building (377,000 kWh) and the South Sciences building (328,000 kWh).

While the main purpose of the retrofit was to reduce energy consumption and at the same time avoid the rising cost of electricity, facilities energy manager Ron Sue says it supports the university's commitment to environmental sustainability.

"Like most consumers, we look at energy cost avoidance as a win-win for both the pocketbook and the environment."

In the past two decades, SFU's energy conservation strategies and Power Smart initiatives have resulted in more than $25 million worth of energy cost avoidance.

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