Oct. 7, 2016

Contact: Dennis Elliot
805-756-2090; delliot@calpoly.edu

Cal Poly Completing $460,000 Street and Parking Lot Lighting Project

University Receives $73,000 State Grant Toward Plan to Install 500 Energy-Efficient LED Lights Across Campus

SAN LUIS OBISPO — A $460,000 project to upgrade street and parking lot lights on the Cal Poly campus has improved lighting for the safety of students, employees and visitors, while lowering the university’s utility costs.

The project replaced 500 light fixtures with energy efficient LED lights in the 150-acre campus core and outlying areas. Work began in June and was completed in October.

The new lights will save more than 300,000 kilowatt hours every year, saving more than $30,000 annually on electricity. The project was partially funded by a $73,000 California State University Chancellor’s Office grant as part of an energy retrofit program. When complete, the project is expected to result in a PG&E rebate of more than $70,000.

“We incorporated occupancy sensors into the parking lot lights so that when there’s no activity at night — when everybody has gone home — those lights will dim down to a low output,” said Dennis Elliot, Cal Poly’s director of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability. “If somebody walks into the lot late to get their car or drives in to park, the sensors will detect the motion and bring the lights up to full output. The dimming feature will achieve another significant reduction.”

Elliot said switching from high-pressure sodium — which casts an orange tinge to the light — to LED will cut street lighting electricity demand by at least 50 percent, provide significantly higher quality light, and extend lamp life by a factor of five.

“In addition, the motion sensing controls will let us automatically dim to about 25 percent output during the night when nobody is around for many hours,” Elliot said. “So, we’ll be able to turn that 50 percent energy savings into 75 percent overall energy savings.”

It’s a project that has been long in the making, he said.

“These lighting standards have never been retrofitted for energy efficiency,” Elliot said. “The oldest lights were installed in the 1960s. The lamps have been changed many times, but the fixtures themselves have been here for a long time.”

A worker installs a new energy-efficient LED streetlight on College Avenue outside the Alex G. Spanos Stadium on the Cal Poly campus. (Additional high-res lighting photos are available; call Jay Thompson at 805-756-5186.)

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