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Stanford joins EPA's "Green Lights" partnership

STANFORD -- Stanford University and Stanford Health Services have joined the federal Environmental Protection Agency's "Green Lights" program, a voluntary partnership that encourages energy-efficient lighting and pollution reduction.

Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding signed Tuesday, April 18, in San Francisco, Stanford University and Stanford Health Services joined about 1,800 other businesses and institutions nationwide who have agreed to survey their lighting systems and replace older, less efficient bulbs and fixtures with those that are more efficient.

Susan Kulakowski of the Energy Management Group in Stanford's Utilities Division said the university and Stanford Health Services found participation in the Green Lights program appealing "because it gives us recognition and support for a retrofitting program that we were going to do anyway."

During a five-year retrofitting period, which began last year and already has resulted in annual savings of about $100,000, Stanford offices, classrooms and laboratories are being surveyed to determine whether they would benefit from having new lighting installed.

Kulakowski said the new "T-8" type of fluorescent lamps provide better quality lighting as well as reduce electricity consumption, and because of electronic ballasts have far less of the "hum" and "flicker" associated with fluorescent lighting.

"What's really nice about taking part in Green Lights is that the EPA leaves it up to the individual institution to decide the quality of lighting that's appropriate in each workplace," Kulakowski said.

Stanford can expect a rate of return on its investments in lighting upgrades of between 20 and 40 percent, Kulakowski said. Under terms of the agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, the university and Stanford Health Services will survey 100 percent of the facilities and complete 90 percent or more of the cost-effective lighting upgrades within five years.

"Cost-effective" is defined as providing an internal return rate of 20 percent or greater. In other words, if the initial investment of $100 in upgrades results in savings of at least $20 a year, then it is considered effective.

By reducing the amount of electricity used for lighting, peak demand should likewise be reduced in the summer months, Kulakowski said. In addition, the newer lighting being installed creates less heat, further lowering the campus' chilled water demand during the hot days.

Stanford has agreed to invest between $3.25 and $5.9 million in the program, and will report progress annually to the Environmental Protection Agency. Most of the retrofitting will be done under the direction of the zone managers in facilities, with the participation of the office of Environmental Health and Safety.

Other businesses and institutions that already have joined Green Lights in Northern California include the Bank of America, the California State University system, Hewlett-Packard, Pacific Gas & Electric, the city of San Jose, San Mateo County, the state of California and the Universith of California-Berkeley.



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