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A Big Impact: Environmental Initiative Pays Off

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An energy-and-cost-savings initiative led by Hampshire Electrical Department Foreman Jeff Neumann has made the Robert Crown Center a little more environmentally friendly.

Western Massachusetts Electric approached Hampshire late last spring about the utility company's energy efficiency incentive program, which provides matching funds when older style lighting is replaced with newer models that use less electricity. Neumann realized it would make a big impact in the Robert Crown Center, and quickly submitted a proposal. It netted Hampshire $6,720 towards the roughly $10,000 replacement of old metal halide high-wattage lamps in the Crown Center with new electronic T5 fluorescent bulbs. Neumann and Hampshire electrician Christopher Pieciak completed the lighting change in the gym and pool areas before students arrived in September.

"We're saving energy, and it's a lot less than what it cost us before. And not only do they operate at a fraction of what the old lights cost, you can also turn them on and off without having to warm them up," says Neumann, noting that the old metal halide lamps sometimes took up to five minutes to get working at full capacity.

The replacement of the Robert Crown Center lighting is part of Hampshire College's long dedication to energy conservation and sustainable practices. Hampshire was recently featured in the 2011 Guide to 311 Green Colleges, created by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council. The guide focuses on environmentally responsible campuses that are committed to sustainability in terms of infrastructure, activities, and initiatives. 

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