Schools Roundup: Duke LED Streetlights, Sweetwater School District 3.3 MW Solar, McKinney School District Half-Watt Wednesday


Duke University in North Carolina has begun a year-long project to replace 1,460 existing streetlamps with new, energy-efficient LED bulbs. The effort will reduce replaced lights’ energy use by about 75 percent, according to Duke Today. The installation of LED bulbs has the potential to save Duke as much as $188,000 in energy and operational costs. The new LEDs are expected to last about 40,000 hours, four times longer than the old bulbs. The retrofit is part of the university’s 2009 Climate Action Plan, which calls for the school to become climate neutral by 2024. In addition to saving energy, the lighting retrofit brings a uniform lighting scheme across the campus.

In McKinney, Texas, the McKinney Independent School District board adopted an energy-consciousness campaign, which will kickoff in April, to encourage energy-efficient behavior of students and staff, according to the McKinney Courier-Gazette. The school board adopted the plan based on a student-led model that has been a success at its Evans Middle School, where students created an energy-efficiency website and implemented Half-Watt Wednesdays and Watt-Watchers programs. On Half-Watt Wednesdays classrooms use just half their lights. And for Watt-Watchers, students patrol the school, reminding teachers to turn out lights when they’re not in use. A school energy manager will prepare a yearly energy use report so all the campuses can see their results. The Evans school earned a $10,000 prize when it was selected in January as one of 16 teams nationwide for the first-level Lexus Eco Challenge grant. The team is now competing for the $30,000 grand prize, with plans to spend the money to purchase Pavegen Energy Tiles. The tiles use people’s footsteps to power low-wattage hallway lights.

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