LEWISBURG, Pa. – As part of the ongoing “Orange & Blue Goes Green” initiative, which strives to make Bucknell Athletics facilities as sustainable and energy efficient as possible, brand new LED lighting was recently installed in Sojka Pavilion and Davis Gymnasium. Previously, Gerhard Fieldhouse and Kinney Natatorium were upgraded to LED lighting systems, resulting in significant energy and cost savings throughout the Kenneth Langone Athletics and Recreation Center.

“In 2014, we started to see LED technology finally improving and product costs dropping, so we began retrofitting the major lighting systems for these four venues and finished in late-2016,” said Stephen Durfee, who serves as campus energy manager for the Department of Facilities. “By converting our systems from metal halide (MH) lamps to LEDs, we have seen significant financial and environmental savings as well as improved light quality and distribution, less maintenance meaning less intrusive down time for student-athletes, and no more buzzing noise from the old MH ballasts.”

“The installation of the LED lighting has made a noticeable difference in our four KLARC competition venues,” said Chad Mason, associate director of athletics for operations and events. “In addition to providing clear, bright visuals in those areas, the LEDs fit into our ‘Orange & Blue Goes Green’ environmental-awareness program. The KLARC is one of the most-visited facilities on campus, with thousands of daily visitors passing through the competition areas, the fitness center, and the administrative section of the building. It is vital that we keep the KLARC as energy-efficient as possible.”   

The spacious Gerhard Fieldhouse proved to be the most arduous of the four LED installations. Fortunately, Bucknell was able to reuse the 112 existing light fixtures in the fieldhouse. Each light was taken down, and each of the massive 1,000-watt lamps was removed and replaced with a new aluminum disc, plate-shaped LED, custom made for the fixture. After retrofitting each fixture with the LEDs, they were re-hung. The “reduce and reuse” approach that was taken in Gerhard Fieldhouse saved considerable cost and materials required to manufacture new fixtures.

According to Durfee, installation costs for Sojka Pavilion, Gerhard Fieldhouse, Davis Gym and Kinney Natatorium totaled $266,400, which has a 3.75-year simple payback period. The LEDs last nearly 10 times longer than the MH bulbs, which means over 2,500 bulbs will be diverted from the landfill. Other environmental benefits are the 9,331 MTCO2e emissions avoidance over the life of the LEDs, derived from the 15,670,000 kWh energy savings expected. Financially, the University will realize over $2.1 million in operations costs savings from reduced energy and maintenance over a 20-year period.