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Shedding light on energy conservation

Sept. 11, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University continues to be a leader in energy conservation as the school will soon rid itself of inefficient incandescent lamps used to light almost 8 million square feet of building space.

"WMU has done an excellent job in lowering its facility operating costs with good energy management and operating practices," says Lowell Rinker, vice president for business and finance. "Changing our incandescent lamps in several million square feet of building space will make an impact for years to come."

The conversion cuts electrical use by almost 75 percent, and compact fluorescent lamps last between seven to 10 times as long as incandescent lamps, according to Carl Newton, WMU's energy reduction manager. WMU has approximately 13,600 incandescent lamps on campus. The process of trading out the lamps has been going on for a couple of years, he adds, but the University stepped up its efforts this past summer and into the fall.

It is not including incandescent lamps that are on dimming controls because the technology for those types of CFLs is still being improved. The University upgraded the incandescent exit lights on campus to LED technology in 1998.

"For the environment, it certainly decreases pollution because smaller wattage lights will be used and we're using less fossil fuel. The University also is saving money in labor costs because CFLs last longer and need to be changed less frequently." Newton says.

The University is committing to converting incandescent lamps to compact fluorescent lamps, over time, in observance of Change a Light Day Oct. 3, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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