Creating a positive environment on campus goes far beyond classrooms and textbooks. From rivalry ballgames and weekend programs to late-night study sessions and extracurricular events, the buildings and facilities on your quad serve as the backbone for an experience that’s truly greater than the sum of its parts.
As the summer months hit, there’s no better time to look inward and review the ways your campus buildings can positively support the needs of students, staff and the surrounding community.
While groundskeeping and cosmetic maintenance often get the bulk of the attention, another smart way to enhance your campus experience is to retrofit your facilities with modern lighting control and energy-saving solutions.
Beyond doing wonders for your school’s bottom line, proactively adopting environmentally-friendly energy controls can be a major selling point for students. Princeton Review even includes an annual list of Green Colleges as a way to pass along a stamp of approval in tandem with academic rankings.
As you kick off your summer renovation projects, be sure to keep these areas in mind for lighting control and energy efficiency updates:
Student Centers and Primary Buildings
At the heart of most campuses, you’ll find a sprawling student center. However, having such a massive space can sometimes pose a challenge to facilities managers. After all, it’s not easy to keep track of schedules and shifting program needs throughout the semester. Moreover, having staff manually adjust light switches can be an inefficient use of manpower, especially if it’s daily duty.
One way to stay on top of the action and free up staff time is to install a digital astronomic lighting control system, such as the Intermatic ET90000, to help manage schedules and tend to ad-hoc needs. Digital controls allow you to pre-program schedules and access lighting circuits from a single, centrally located hub, either on-site and online. You’ll never be caught off guard by an unforeseen event or be forced to leave lights on unnecessarily - you can make changes on the fly.
Bathrooms and Limited-Use Spaces
Similar to the nooks and crannies found in large campus buildings, limited-use spaces, such as bathrooms and storage closets, present a fantastic opportunity to implement occupancy sensors to help reduce energy waste.
PIR and Dual-Technology Sensors use infrared and ultrasonic waves to detect the presence of occupants and automatically adjust indoor lights. When class is in session or a private room is occupied, the controls turn on seamlessly, allowing students and teachers to stay fully involved in their work without having to fuss with complicated switches. Once the activity has passed, the lights switch off automatically, delivering an immediate cost-savings.
Parking Lots and Walkways
Perhaps the most important aspect of campus life is safety, which is why exterior security and parking lot lights play a major role in many schools’ crime prevention strategies. Simply put: dangerous incidents are less likely to happen when a space is well-lit.
To make sure your school’s exterior LEDs stay in good working order, consider upgrading your photocontrols to ones that are specifically designed to prevent the effects of high inrush current. You’ll limit the need for costly and unexpected maintenance while extending the lifespan of your LED lighting controls.
Further, on top of regulating ON/OFF schedules to illuminate outdoor areas, photocontrols help harness the power of natural light to provide the same level of safety without carrying the burden of excess energy costs.
Older Dorm Rooms
Depending on the year college dorms were built, there’s a chance they’re less than secure when it comes to dealing power surges. This can be a major problem when students plug their laptops, tablets, smartphones, video game systems, HD televisions and stereos - all at once, mind you - into outlets designed decades ago.
Point-of-use surge protection devices can help mitigate risk, but the only way to truly safeguard expensive electrical gear is to install a whole-facility surge protection system. If your building doesn’t have this in place, it’s an obvious area to start with before the fall term gets going.
Between the campus dining hall, popular restaurant-style services and grab ’n’ go meals, there’s no shortage of food options when most students step foot on campus.
But with so many new options, managing energy consumption needs, particularly for commercial refrigerators, freezers and display cases, has to be a serious consideration for administrators and building staff. A great first step that offers immediate cost-savings is to install adaptive defrost controls on all commercial refrigeration units.
Adaptive defrost controls, such as Intermatic ICUBE™ products, combine the consistency of a fixed defrost schedule with the efficiency of a condition-based control. This limits unnecessary defrost cycles while maintaining the important timing aspect, ensuring the system does not defrost during busy periods. When fully optimized, adaptive defrost controls can reduce defrost cycles by up to 40 percent or more, which adds up to significant savings over the course of a school year.
Ready to start implementing lighting control and refrigeration energy savings best practices at your university? Contact our team today to be sure your school passes the test with flying colors next semester.