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Lighting Retrofits at University of Minnesota Deliver Energy Savings

By Dan Hounsell, Editor - December 2013 - Educational Facilities


The University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis is poised for major changes. As with so many other institutional and commercial facilities, the university is looking high and low for new technology applications that will help hold down costs related to building operations and maintenance. A sizable part of the attention being paid to savings relates to retrofits of existing buildings involving LED lighting.

"Essentially, we were trying to find low-hanging fruit where we could really kick off our energy savings on campus with respect to lighting," says Alicia Phillips, an engineer and senior energy auditor with the university's facilities management department. Over the last few years, a series of LED retrofits in campus buildings — including parking garages, stairwells, food-service areas and classrooms — has provided a laboratory for Phillips and the department to test various lamps, ballasts and control systems to find the most effective combination for a range of applications.

"We typically will retrofit anything that's five years or less for the return on investment, and we also always take advantage of energy rebates from our energy company. I think it's probably two years before it's a no-brainer to sweep across campus," Phillips says.





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