UC Davis Sets Ambitious Lighting Efficiency Goals

Lighting accounts for about 25% of all electrical use in California. With that in mind, University of California, Davis, plans to cut its lighting energy usage 60% or more by 2015.

It makes sense that UC Davis would set such an ambitious goal. After all, it is home to the California Lighting Technology Center, which develops energy-efficient lighting systems.

The objective, program officials say, is to be a model for
"virtually anyone who uses electric lights in California." In other words, everyone.

Many many campuses and state and national agencies are already using innovations developed by UC Davis, according to this press release.

The lighting project at Davis will cost about $39 million, about $4 million of which will come from the California Statewide Energy Partnership Program. The remaining $35 million will be paid through the estimated $3 million per year in cost savings. At that rate, the payback will be about 11.6 years.

Experts say that upgrades and retrofits are the most cost-effective and fastest way to cut energy bills. The upfront costs are less and properties with energy improvements are more valuable and often sell faster than comparable buildings without the advancements.

Certainly, that is true in the San Joaquin Valley, where power bills run high, incomes run low and a reduction in energy costs can lead to significant monetary savings. Energy efficiency also is a key component of Gov-elect Jerry Brown's job-creation plan.