Jan. 7, 2010

Pammel Drive

Photo by Bob Elbert.

Slightly darker Pammel part of pilot program

by Diana Pounds

A late night streetlight experiment on Pammel Drive may point the way to tens of thousands of dollars in energy savings annually.

The experiment involves turning off half of the 14 streetlights along Pammel Drive between midnight and 6 a.m. A similar experiment is under way in parking lot 41, north of the General Services Building.

Campus streetlights are controlled by photocells that turn them on at sunset and off at sunrise, said David Miller, director of facilities planning and management operations. In mid-December, FPM staff installed special photocells that could be programmed to turn off Pammel and lot 41 lights at midnight.

Miller pointed out that none of the lights programmed for midnight shutdown are at Pammel crosswalks or corners. Lights in those key areas will remain on all night as usual.

Your opinions sought

Miller anticipates that half lighting will prove to be adequate after midnight, when there is very little traffic on campus. However, FPM wants to hear from the campus community on this issue.

"This is just a pilot," Miller emphasized. "We want to know if people feel safe, if they have concerns, if they do or don't like the idea of reducing late-night lighting." Comments can be directed to:

Potential savings

Shutting off half the streetlights on Pammel Drive from midnight to 6 a.m. would result in an annual savings of about $285, Miller said. That may not seem like much, but Miller points out that there are 1,900 streets, walkways and parking lot lights on campus.

"If we could manage to live with lower light levels by shutting off just half of the fixtures at midnight, we could save up to $32,000 annually," he said. "And at the same time, we would conserve about 1 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions."