Boston University partnered with Bluestone Energy Services to install a new retrofit lighting system in the university’s Track and Tennis Center that will reduce BU’s carbon footprint.
“The lighting retrofit was a no-brainer,” said Lisa Tornatore, the outreach coordinator for Sustainability at BU. “When we looked at the renovation cost and factored in electricity savings and expected utility rebates, the payback on the new system will be very short. Additionally, the new lights will be a significant improvement for the teams and individuals who use the TTC, as they’ll be able to determine which lights to turn on and how bright they should be.”
Tornatore said the new lights will scale down the large amounts of electricity used by the TTC while improving the overall brightness of facility.
“The old lights at the TTC used a lot of electricity,” she said. “Additionally, they were pretty fragile, enough so that the TTC had to use netting on the ceiling to protect them from flying tennis balls, et cetera. The new LED lights give off more light while using less energy and they are much more durable so staff were able to take down the ceiling nets.”
BU’s carbon footprint is significantly altered by the amount of energy used in facilities like the TTC, Tornatore said.
“BU’s carbon footprint is most directly affected how much energy we use,” she said. “By reducing the amount of energy used by the lights at TTC, we are thereby reducing our carbon footprint. It’s pretty straightforward. More specifically, we expect to save enough energy to power 70 homes for an entire year just by changing out the lights.”
Sean Fuller, Bluestone’s vice president of business development and marketing, said the new lighting system is extremely advanced because it is connected to a wireless network.
“We retrofitted the whole place with LEDs, and not only LEDs, but also the fixtures are wirelessly controlled through a mesh network,” Fuller said. “Essentially every fixture in there has its own IP address, and you can tell it what time to come on, what time to turn off and what level of light is needed … This will allow them to strategically designs schemes for different events that happen in the facility and they can control that from a computer, smartphone or tablet.”
The metal halide technology that once lit the TTC was inefficient and problematic, requiring the university to focus maintenance time to keep the lights running, Fuller said.
“The metal halide technology lamps only last about 20,000 hours, so subsequently a lot of them would fail in time,” he said. “Working on the lighting in that facility is a tedious, involved task. The LEDs last a lot longer so there is maintenance savings, the control and functionality of the system is just more efficient.”
Fuller said the BU’s installation of the new retrofit is a strategic move for a university such as BU that is trying to establish itself as environmentally forward-thinking.
“This is a very advanced step, and it speaks to the practices that the school has put in place to make the facility better for students and athletes and to work toward the schools sustainability goals,” he said. “BU could have gone with a less complicated solution, but they waited for the technology to arrive, and I think they acted at the right time.”
Lesley Sheehan, director of the BU tennis team, said the new lighting system have improved the quality of tennis practices and other events held at the TTC
“The old lights would dim and go out and leave it dark and difficult to see. We constantly had to get them fixed,” Sheehan said. “The fact that we can control the brightness is such a big asset to the TTC and to all sports and events being held there.”