The Graduate Student Commons building is a 24-hour facility owned by UCSC graduate students providing a space for graduate student meetings, quiet study, and informal gatherings. Its aim is to foster a sense of community between graduate students. The facility is heavily used by groups during the days and evening and regularly throughout the night by graduate students. The lower floor of the facility is occupied by a tenant, Joe’s Restaurant, which is excluded from the scope of this project. At its October 2013 meeting, the GSC board of directors passed a motion for its Facilities Subcommittee to pursue a grant from the Carbon Fund to address security and inefficiency issues related to lighting at the facility. Interior lighting is not controlled through occupancy sensors and often students leave lights illuminated throughout the night, wasting electricity. Similarly, the exterior lighting is not controlled through timers or photo cells, which presents dual problems. Often exterior lights are left illuminated well into the morning hours when they are not needed. Conversely, when exterior lights are not illuminated, students are unable to see the door lock code entry system to gain access to the building. The purpose of this project is to install occupancy sensors and photo cells to solve the illumination timing issues as well as upgrade most lighting to LED technology. Physical Plant is involved in the project, conducting a lighting and time of use audit, recommending retrofit parts, providing the costs for parts and installation and performing the retrofit. Physical Plant has completed several similar retrofits in the past few years.
The GSC utilizes about 1,131 kWh of university-generated electricity during an average month in 2012. A total of over 21,500 kWh annually costs the University in excess of $2,000 per year. Lighting in educational facilities can account for up to 35% of total electricity consumption. According to Physical Plant’s audit conducted on 10/22/13 and subsequent monitoring of lighting usage patterns, it is estimated that the lighting retrofit will reduce electricity usage by about 5,600 kWh or nearly 40% annually.
Metrics for Success:
Energy bills in terms of kWh and $.
Preliminary calculations indicate that upon completion of the lighting retrofit, the GSC will see a reduction in electricity consumption by approximately 40%. A reduction in electricity consumption corresponds to avoided greenhouse gas emissions. Calculations performed by a Physical Plant and Construction analyst indicate that emissions reduced by the project are approximately 5,600 kWh (see emailed spreadsheet). By entering this value in the Carbon Fund GHG Savings Calculator, the calculated reduction of GHG emissions from the reduction in energy consumption is determined in terms of metric tons CO2e*yr-1 and CO2e*yr-1 over the lifespan of the project as a whole.
GHG emissions reductions through lighting retrofits are well documented. We point to other successful on-campus projects for reference. The East Field House Lighting Project retrofitted the East Field House Gym with new induction lamps that reduced energy consumption in the gym by 48% and carbon emissions by 4.1 tons of CO2e per year.
According to the GHG Calculator spreadsheet, the project is estimated to save 1.4 tons of CO2e per year and 27 tons of CO2e emissions over the 20 year life of the project.
The GSC facility manager will report actual savings to the Carbon Fund after one year of operation.