LiveGreen: LED lighting changes yield impressive results

by Melanie Stewart, LiveGreen | January 05, 2021

Image with file name: LED122220.jpg

Two years ago, we told you that the metal halide bulbs, which were lit 24/7 in the Lot 50 parking garage, were converted to LEDs -- a move that saved the med center $48,000 a year in electricity charges.

We're amped to tell you that the money saved was paired with an Omaha Public Power District rebate program to purchase more LED fixtures/bulbs and continue the savings.

Lightbulbs are often sold by wattage, and we've learned to associate that with light. More watts does mean a brighter bulb, but it's actually a measurement of the amount of energy you are using. A 75W bulb uses 75 watts of electricity, but puts off about 1,100 lumens of light. LEDs emit the same number of lumens using substantially less watts. The light comes from small diodes, so they are easily dimmable, can be warm or cool, change colors and emit less heat, thereby reducing cooling costs. That control allows for daylight harvesting and motion-sensing so lights are only on, and as bright, when they need to be.

Since that time, lights/fixtures have been replaced in:

  • Administration Building
  • Annex 14/Brown Building
  • Durham Research Center
  • Durham Research Center II
  • Bennett Hall
  • College of Nursing
  • Hixson Lied operating rooms
  • Eppley Science Center
  • Maurer Center for Public Health
  • 4230/AX 10 building
  • Core Lab/Blood Bank
  • AX 23/grounds
  • Student Life Center
  • Lied Transplant Center
  • Part of AX 22/Mail Center
  • Old Red Cross building
  • All med center street lights
  • Bellevue Operation Rooms and outdoor lighting
  • Parking Lot 44

In total, so far, the med center has replaced 16,237 fixtures which will save 2,556,831kWh each year. (That calculation takes use into consideration -- office space usage compared to operating rooms, exterior lights changing with the seasons, etc.) If that seems like a lot of energy, you are right. An average U.S. home used 10,649kWh each year, so this would be enough to power more than 240 homes for a year. The med center will avoid $231,630 each year just in electricity costs, but there also are additional dollars saved in cooling. The heat put off by the lights had to be compensated with extra cooling that now doesn't need to be used, saving even more. This is especially noticeable with the boom lights in the operating rooms.

We hope you got a charge out of this update and once more buildings/spaces are complete we'll be back to enlighten you again.

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Patty Davis
January 05, 2021 at 1:30 PM

Great! Glad that someone thought of this alternate lighting to save UNMC in a lot of different ways! Hope that person gets recognized for their wonderful idea!

Fran Higgins
January 05, 2021 at 10:11 AM

Awesome news! Great work.

Rosie Zweiback
January 05, 2021 at 9:39 AM

What a fantastic report! Thank you UNMC and LiveGreen for this amazing work.