College campuses use a lot of light – from libraries to gyms to outdoor pathways to parking lots, many lights are on, often in almost continuous operation. Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine, has recently begun a comprehensive campus-wide lighting retrofit to make lighting more efficient. The $676,000 project will upgrade over 3,800 existing lights with high-efficiency LED fixtures. The project is projected to reduce campus electric consumption by 24 percent and save the campus about $90,000 annually.

“We’ve undertaken this project to meet our fiscal and environmental stewardship goals,” says Yvonne Berry, Saint Joseph’s vice president and chief financial officer. “The College has committed to operating at carbon neutrality, and reducing our electric consumption by 24 percent is an important step toward meeting that objective.”

Efficiency Maine, the independent administrator for energy efficiency programs in Maine, is investing $272,000 into the lighting upgrade. Efficiency Maine’s mission is to lower the cost and environmental impacts of energy in Maine by promoting cost-effective energy efficiency and alternative energy systems to help reduce the use of electricity, natural gas, and heating fuels throughout all levels of the Maine economy.

Graybar is serving as the electrical supplier, and SeaBee Electric is installing the new LED fixtures.

Project administrators at Efficiency Maine are particularly excited about the College’s endeavor because of its impact beyond campus. Ian Burnes, Strategic Initiatives Team Leader, explains: “High-efficiency lighting projects can significantly reduce electric demand in the winter when more lights are on and for longer. Wintertime evenings coincide with peak demand and the most expensive hours of electric generation. Many Maine businesses are subject to higher electric prices at these times or feel the impact of these higher prices on their overall energy costs. Reducing demand during these peak times is one of the best ways we can reduce electricity costs for all Maine customers.”

The incentive on this project is being funded by Efficiency Maine’s Large Customer Program, which is designed to leverage private investment to achieve significant electrical or greenhouse gas savings through energy efficiency upgrades. Incentives range from a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum of $2,000,000 per year. Typical customers of the program include hospitals, manufacturers, food processors, office complexes, and college campuses.

“Reducing on-going operating costs makes good business sense and helps us contain student tuition,” says Berry. “And reducing our electric bill frees up funds to invest in other campus improvements. The Efficiency Maine incentive reduced the payback by 3 years, an important consideration for our Board when they agreed to fund the project. The lighting project includes LED fixtures in most campus buildings, including the gymnasium, as well as exterior lighting throughout the campus. The lighting designers and campus staff anticipate more visibility and a better quality of light in many of these spaces.”

For more information about the Large Customer Program, call Efficiency Maine at 866-376-2463.