UNC Lighting Project Taps Cree, Johnson Controls

AcklandThe University of North Carolina’s board of governors has approved lighting and other energy-saving efforts that avoid $25 million in energy costs through a unique system-wide guaranteed energy savings contract involving 13 UNC campuses, the UNC General Administration and several affiliated organizations.

This project will allow reductions in campus utility costs to pay for the project over seven years. At the same time they will save money for taxpayers along with parents and students – about $25 million over seven years. Johnson Controls will oversee the program, and one of the major subcontractors is Cree – a North Carolina LED lighting company.

The projects will address lighting needs in various facilities on the campuses including classrooms, research labs, residence halls, parking facilities and other outdoor lighting using LED technology.

Campuses and other UNC institutions involved include: Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, UNC Asheville, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, UNC Pembroke, UNC School of the Arts, Western Carolina University, Winston-Salem State University, UNC General Administration, UNC Center for Public Television, and NC Arboretum

In related news, the Ackland Art Museum (pictured) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has converted to 100 percent LED lighting.

The museum worked with the campus’s Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee over the past two years to explore ways in which the Ackland could reduce its energy consumption. RESPC paid approximately $52,000 dollars to fully fund the transition of gallery lights to more efficient LED bulbs Cree.

With less heat being produced by the more than 400 Cree LED lights, the Ackland’s HVAC systems run much more efficiently, especially in the summer months, further reducing its electricity consumption and carbon emissions.

Cree estimates the new lights will use 117,000 fewer kilowatt hours per year and will save the museum, and thus UNC, more than $13,000 dollars a year.

Earlier this month, Cree was among five companies to receive grants from the US Department of Energy  to carry out manufacturing research and development projects aimed at supporting energy efficient lighting products.

Cree will use a $2.3 million DOE investment to develop a modular design for LED lights that can link together multiple units to fit larger areas. The design aims to use less raw material, reducing manufacturing costs while ensuring high lighting quality and efficiency.

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