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After finding that advanced lighting systems with embedded controls could help it save significant amounts of money and energy, the University of Minnesota has installed Lithonia Lighting W Series LED Luminaries from Acuity.

The new lighting systems are expected to save the university more than $30,000 annually at its flagship campus in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, after the university conducted tests on how often its lesser-seen locations were lighted compared to their use.

After discovering many of these areas, including indoor and outdoor stairwells, back hallways and corridors, were used only briefly, even during the most high-volume traffic times of the day, yet were illuminated all day and night with standard florescent lighting systems, the university installed the new luminaries.

Luminaries from Acuity were chosen after the university evaluated its options, which determined the price was sensible and money saved would be worthwhile, said Blaine O’Brien, the senior energy auditor for energy management in the university’s facilities management division. “Our testing demonstrated this concept was a good solution for our needs.”

Areas only illuminated when necessary
The luminaries from Acuity feature occupancy sensors to manage lighting usage in low-traffic areas including stairwells, restrooms and corridors. When sensing occupants, the luminaries automatically increase their illumination levels to 100 percent, then dim down to 10 percent when the areas are no longer in use.

Dimming the lights drastically saves energy consumption in affected areas, ensuring more out-of-the-way places like dormitory stairwells are only lit when in use.

The university has installed 961 LED luminaries in stairwells on the West Bank of its Twin Cities campus, expected to save 379,392 kilowatt hours. In an additional installation, the university will add 6,000 more luminaries to 120 buildings across campus.

LED use growing brighter across college campuses
As LED usage continues to increase across the nation, more universities are planning to utilize their potential for savings to lower their energy consumption with more sustainable lighting.

The University of Central Florida has replaced 500 fixtures in its parking structures, according to Green and Save News, which has saved them more than $42,000 annually. Arizona State University has installed four times as many, its 2,000 replacements saving an average of $127,000 per year.

Rutgers University, additionally, installed a massive LED display in its football stadium as part of a more than $100 million renovation, and the University of Louisville plans to use LED lights to cut its annual energy costs by more than $2 million.