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LED Lights Installed in UW’s Guthrie House to Increase Energy Efficiency

February 23, 2021
before and after photos of a room's lighting
Before and after photos of new LED lights installed in the UW Guthrie House. The University of Wyoming Campus Sustainability Committee and UW Operations funded the project. (Charles Nye Photos)

A project supported by the University of Wyoming Campus Sustainability Committee (CSC), the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources and UW Operations, with Rocky Mountain Power Foundation funding, has resulted in safer, more energy efficient lighting in the Guthrie House.

New LED lights were installed last week in the building that houses the Honors College.

Heading the project were Charles Nye, a UW assistant research scientist in the School of Energy Resources, and Shawn Enriques, a graduate student from Greeley, Colo.; and David Lemieux, a graduate student from Cranmore, Alberta, Canada, and Brian Wieliczka, a researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“We knew the traditional incandescent and fluorescent lighting in the Guthrie House was outdated and inefficient so, when funding from the CSC and UW Operations emerged, it was the perfect opportunity to pursue our LED lighting project,” Nye says.

LED lighting has many benefits over traditional lighting, Nye says.

Traditional fluorescent lighting can contain high levels of mercury. According to Energy.gov, LED lighting is 75-80 percent more efficient than traditional lighting. In addition, energy efficiency results in monetary savings. New LED lighting in the Guthrie House will save an estimated $800 per year from the 62 percent energy efficiency gained.

“LED lighting has hardly any downsides once implemented. The most difficult part is the funding for the initial purchase of the technology,” Enriques says. “We are thankful to the Campus Sustainability Committee and UW Operations for the financial and moral support to make this project happen.”

The first step of the project was inventorying all the Guthrie House’s lighting. The project team and other UW students identified 188 linear fluorescent tube lights as well as 11 incandescent floodlights that needed to be converted to LED lighting.

Next came crunching the numbers for a budget and coordinating with UW Operations for the best manufacturers to provide the bulbs, Nye says. The bulbs are purchased from a company that UW Operations has used in the past.

The project team also took into consideration the blue tint typically associated with LED lighting.

“After we talked with the faculty and staff who work at the Guthrie House, there was consensus that they wanted to keep the soft, warm yellowish tint associated with traditional lighting,” Lemieux says. “Over the past few years, LED lighting has developed to accommodate this preference, so that is what we installed.”

This project advanced a building-level sustainability plan for the Honors College, which Enriques and fellow students created in the Haub School’s Campus Sustainability course in 2019. The CSC and Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources additionally supported two student internships with Rocky Mountain Power Foundation funding in 2020. Interns developed a UW student recycling coordinator toolkit and advanced the City of Laramie’s emissions reduction planning.

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