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UC Davis turns on Smart Lighting to save energy, be model for Californians

November 22, 2010


Bright, efficient induction lighting combined with occupancy sensors have reduced the energy needs for UC Davis' North Entry Parking Structure. Photo: Kathreen Fontecha/California Lighting Technology Center, UC Davis.

The University of California, Davis, today turns on a new Smart Lighting Initiative to slash the amount of electricity it uses to illuminate its buildings and grounds. UC Davis is the first large institution in California to act on a September state mandate to reduce lighting energy use by 60 percent or more by 2020.

What’s more, the university intends to reach that goal in half the time — by 2015. It has a good start: Since 2007, it has already reduced lighting energy consumption by about 10 percent.

Overall, the California Public Utilities Commission estimates that lighting accounts for 25 percent of California’s electricity use. At UC Davis, that figure is 29 percent and falling.

Cutting the energy used for lighting is key to California's efforts to reduce the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions it generates when it burns fossil fuels for electricity.

UC Davis Smart Lighting projects are based on innovations developed or refined by designers and engineers at the UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center and implemented by UC Davis’ forward-thinking Facilities Management team.

“UC Davis is uniquely able to serve as a model for virtually anyone who uses electric lights in California,” said Michael Siminovitch, director of the lighting center and a professor of design. “We are innovating lighting in our own campus residences, offices, classrooms, laboratories, human and animal medical centers, wineries and breweries, parks, greenbelts, barns, and parking lots.

"If you are trying to cut your carbon footprint and lighting costs, you can find help here.”

California Public Utilities Commission President Michael R. Peevey said UC Davis is the first institution to commit to achieving the lighting efficiency goals called for in the California Long-Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan.

“Advanced lighting technologies represent a win-win for our economy and the environment. By changing to more efficient light fixtures, bulbs and sensors, Californians can reduce the amount of energy they use and save money while simultaneously advancing our efforts to address climate change,” Peevey said.

“There are dozens of affordable lighting options on the market, and more arriving daily, thanks in no small part to the efforts of UC Davis and its leadership in the areas of energy efficiency and sustainability.”

Working with the UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center, the UC Davis Facilities Management team already has installed lighting energy-saving projects including:

The UC Davis Smart Lighting program is expected to cost $39 million. The California Statewide Energy Partnership Program will fund $4 million of the total. The remaining $35 million will be paid for by energy savings of $3 million per year.

The Smart Lighting Initiative is a key part of the UC Davis Climate Action Plan, said Sid England, assistant vice chancellor for environmental stewardship and sustainability.

Released in June, the plan documents current and future actions UC Davis is taking to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and combat global climate change.

The University of California system has set a target for all 10 UC campuses to return to 2000 emission levels by 2014. UC Davis reached that goal in 2008, six years ahead of schedule, and hopes to reduce campus emissions by an additional 10 percent by 2014.

It is all part of California's effort to return to 1990 emissions levels by 2020, as required under Assembly Bill 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

Read the full story on the UC Davis news site. Or find out more about campus progress and sustainability in relation to energy systemslighting and climate change.

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