During the intersession break, all of the 127 metal halide light fixtures at the facility at 100 Ashford Street were replaced with more efficient GE Albeo™ LED fixtures. This project is part of the ongoing initiative to improve energy efficiency on campus and reduce the University’s carbon footprint.
Even though the light output is much greater, the energy has been significantly reduced. LED bulbs use less power (watts) relative to the amount of light generated (lumens) and also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by saving energy. The new fixtures are projected to save 770,000 kWh annually, which is a 40% reduction of the building’s past energy use. That’s enough energy to power 70 homes in the US for a year! One of the reasons the new fixtures are so efficient is because they are linked on a wireless network that allows the fixtures to communicate.
The building is divided into seven unique zones that can be controlled remotely. Each of the tennis courts, the track, throwing cage, and the stands all have separate lighting controls which allow for only certain areas of the facility to be lit as needed, greatly reducing energy use.
“We can control each fixture in terms of lighting output,” says Director of Building Automation Services, Elijah Ercolino, adding that “[the system] is infinitely flexible.”
The new system allows for each team to program their lighting preferences during the hours they practice. For instance, if the tennis team prefers the lights at a lower level than the track team, the system can be programmed to dim the lights during tennis practice hours.
The new lights have benefits that go beyond saving energy and increasing the lighting capabilities, they have also made the facility noticeably quieter. Past visitors to the Track and Tennis Center will likely remember a constant buzzing sound that was produced by the old metal halide fixtures, but unlike their predecessors the LEDs are silent.
“The new fixtures have a useful life rated at 100,000 hours, which dramatically cuts down on maintenance costs,” said Ercolino. Another benefit is the durability of the new fixtures—to ensure they are ideal for athletic facilities, the lights are bombarded with hockey pucks. This allowed for the removal of the nets above the center courts.
Director of Tennis, Lesley Sheehan, says the new lights have had a positive effect on her team.
“The new lighting has been a great upgrade to the TTC. The lights should last a long time and therefore we don’t need to worry about lights going out and having dark courts during matches. There is a control system that can regulate the brightness of the lights which is important to tennis players so that the lights are not shining directly into their eyes. This control system is also such a great upgrade. Overall, the lights have made a noticeable difference to student-athletes of all sports.”