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Lights out!

1:37 PM  Aug 1st, 2017
by Cari Zahn ’18

Summer allows students who remain on campus the opportunity to work on new projects that benefit the entire University.

Led by Sustainability and Energy coordinator Matthew Worsham ’15, graduate students Zac Siefker ’17, Danny Ulbricht ’17 and Stephen Berlage ’16 conducted a lighting audit for Liberty Hall to help determine how the University could curb energy costs.

Students counted the lights in use and collected data about how long they were on. The information will allow University facilities management to understand where they can cut costs by replacing the incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs to make the buildings more energy efficient.

The lighting upgrade is supported by the University’s Green Revolving Fund, a program on campus that allows campus members to propose sustainability projects. The fund will put up that money to replace the lighting. As the new fixtures are in use, the savings will go back to the fund and replenish it for use in future sustainability projects.

The program began in 2016 with the University providing $1 million of seed money to get the fund running.

While making the campus a more environmentally-friendly place is important, the secondary benefit is the opportunity for community collaboration and education, according to University officials.

“I could go in and do this project myself,” Worsham said. “But there’s a benefit to the students participating in these types of changes we’re making on campus.”

According to Worsham, students feel more ownership of campus sustainability projects when they are able to get the experience and learn about it firsthand. This particular project educates students on how lighting impacts energy use and gives perspective on how we interact with lighting throughout the day.

Moving forward, Worsham said his goal in future sustainability projects is to help students “use campus as a laboratory” to bridge the gap between academics and facilities.

In 2017, the University received  $500,000 in rebates from DP&L for energy-efficient initiatives the University has taken during the last decade.

The Green Revolving Fund is among a decade of sustainability initiatives at the University of Dayton, which have led to a 5 percent reduction in the University’s carbon footprint and helped accumulate the DP&L rebates.

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