Flipping the Switch

Lighting in Hodges LibraryWhen UT Knoxville launched the Switch Your Thinking campaign, it set an ambitious goal of reducing energy use by 10 percent.

Meeting that goal will take effort and a watchful eye from every member of the campus community.

Ken Wise, an associate professor in the libraries, saw an area with room for improvement and made a suggestion for change. His action was prompted by a friend in the energy efficiency field pointing out that some of the light fixtures in Hodges were not the most efficient possible.

"The building is 25 years old, and technology has improved," said Wise.

He informed Facilities Services about his concerns, which led UT Knoxville to commit more than $200,000 to update the lighting system throughout Hodges Library.

Terry Ledford, senior project manager in facilities services, says the lights in Hodges were already being updated, at least in part. Ledford notes that whenever a light bulb burns out on campus, it is replaced with the most energy efficient alternative. It’s a process that reflects the high priority on energy conservation, and it’s been in place for a number of years.

The library project, for which facilities services is donating the cost of labor, will consist of replacing the older bulbs and the ballasts – the part of the fixture that controls the flow of electricity – with modern electronic versions right away.

Lighting in Hodges LibraryThis will not only save energy used in the light itself, said Ledford, but because the lights will operate at a greatly reduced temperature from their predecessors, the new controls will also lead to a major savings in cooling costs.

Once completed, the project will save more than $40,000 annually, meaning the project will pay for itself in less than five years.

Faculty and staff can submit their ideas for saving energy by e-mailing environment@utk.edu. By moving UT Knoxville closer to the Switch Your Thinking goal of 10 percent energy reduction, you help reduce the impact of budget cuts while contributing to a better environment for everyone.

Kudos!
Congratulations to the faculty and staff of Henson Hall, who were recently spotted with lights off in their offices during the daytime to take advantage of natural light from outdoors.

Remember these four simple steps to Switch Your Thinking:

  • Turn off your lights when you’ll be out of the room more than an hour.
  • Turn off your computer when you won’t be using it for an hour or more.
  • Plug electrical devices into a power strip and turn the strip off at the end of the day.
  • If you have an AC unit that you control, turn it off when you’ll be gone for extended periods.

Do you have a great idea for campus efficiency? Is your department switching its thinking in a new way? Have you seen someone on campus doing their part? Let us know at tennesseetoday@utk.edu. We’ll look for some of the best ideas and share them in future editions of Tennessee Today!

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