Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rutgers Red Goes Bright Green

"We've audited every single light bulb at Rutgers University, and that includes the light bulbs on Camden and Newark campuses," said Antonio Calcado, the Vice President of Facilities and Capital Planning at Rutgers University.

Rutgers decided when they signed the MOU that they would audit every light bulb and replace every single inefficient bulb with an efficient one. "By the time we're done," Calcado said, "every single light bulb at Rutgers will be the most energy efficient kind out there." By the time they're through, Rutgers will have changed every standard light bulb to low-energy compact LED bulbs. Each room will operate on sensors, so that while a room is not in use, neither will the lights be in use.

According to Michael Kornitas, the Engergy Conservation Manager and Sustainability Coordinator for Rutgers Facilities, the project is expected reduce energy consumption at the university by close to 43 million kilowatt hours annually. "Basically, it translates to us saving roughly 23,333 tons of carbon dioxide every year," Kornitas said.

So far, the re-lighting Rutgers project has been slow going. Rutgers, through the Direct Install Programs from PSE&G and from NJ Clean Energy, converted 31 large scale and 21 small scale buildings at the University to the new lighting standard. According to the MOU, Rutgers has saved only 3,797,699 kwh since first signing the contract, a mere fraction of the 43 million kwh they expect to save when they are through. The total cost to the university for the PSE&G Direct Install Project, so far, came to $5,621,310. PSE&G paid for $4,088,231, leaving the university to pay $1,533,086. "Every year we save $955,638 from this project," said Kornitas. "That means that in 1.6 years, we'll have paid the entire project off. We have every intention of updating every building and facility at Rutgers to meet our new lighting standards. As they money comes, so will the changes."

When analyzing the figures Rutgers submits every six months for the MOU report, the EPA converts all of Rutgers' energy consumption to MTCO2e, or metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. According to the most recent MOU, which was released this November, Rutgers has so far saved 11,520 MTCO2e and $1,567,690 by updating 52 of their buildings to new high efficiency lighting systems. In short, Rutgers has already paid off the cost of the PSE&G Direct Install Programn in savings and they have reduced their green house gas emissions by an equivalent of 2,259 passenger vehicles.

"It's really exciting stuff," said Calcado. "Day by day, we save more and more. Its good news all around."

**Interview: Antonio Calcado (November 07)
***Interview: Michael Kornitas (November 21)

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