Almost all of the lighting fixtures in the common areas of the University of Kentucky’s Patterson Office Tower (POT) are being upgraded to LED fixtures. The project will improve the light quality in these areas while reducing expenses, energy and greenhouse gas emissions.  This building improvement project started in April and will be completed in June.

The stairwells, hallways and other common areas in many campus buildings are often lit 24/7 to ensure safety. Prior to this project, this was true for most of the fixtures in the common areas of POT, and those spaces have been lit continuously since the building was constructed in the late 1960s. Improvements in lighting technology and remote monitoring allow the university to save energy while maintaining safety as a priority. Sensors are being placed in common areas so when the area is unoccupied the LED exterior light fixture’s lighting output is automatically reduced. Some fixtures will turn all the way off, but some strategic locations will remain on at a lower light output to provide a “night light.”

The lighting fixtures around the exterior of POT and the White Hall Classroom building are also being upgraded to improve light at night while also saving energy.

“These LED fixtures will require little to no maintenance, whereas maintenance staff can spend hundreds of hours annually changing light bulbs or ballasts on fluorescent fixtures in a facility the size of POT,” said Britney Ragland, UK’s energy engineer.

Overall, these upgrades are expected to reduce the annual electricity consumption of the building by 725,000 kilowatt hours, equivalent to the annual consumption of more than 65 homes. The avoided utility and maintenance costs result in a project payback period of less than four years.

This project also supports the energy; climate and waste reduction goals established by UK’s Sustainability Strategic Plan and are expected to shrink the campus emissions footprint by at least 702 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Emissions reductions aren’t the only environmental benefits of the project. Thanks to UK Recycling, the cardboard, scrap metal, ballasts, light bulbs and ceiling tiles will be recycled and the glass will be disposed of properly. This is the first campus project where ceiling tiles have been captured for recycling.