Special Section

Shedding Light on Sustainability

UWEC Buildings Illuminated With Retrofits From Sustainable ‘Green Fund’ Dollars

Evelyn Nelson |

Installing sustainable LED lighting at UW-Eau Claire's Sutherland Hall.
TOTALLY TUBULAR. Installing sustainable LED lighting at UW-Eau Claire's Sutherland Hall.

A trajectory toward a sustainable university campus continues through UW-Eau Claire’s next green improvement: efficient light fixtures. The Student Office of Sustainability currently leads a project to install new lighting systems in non-academic buildings across campus in partnership with UWEC’s Facilities, Housing, and Administration offices.

The latest LED lighting retrofits will be installed in six locations: the Ade Olsen Addition to the McPhee Center, Chancellors Hall, Murray Hall, Sutherland Hall, Oakridge Hall, and the Crest Wellness Center.

Funding toward the project is provided by the Student Office of Sustainability’s “Green Fund,” which contains approximately $185,000 sourced from student segregated fees.

The specific retrofit lighting utilizes LED-based technology, as their financial payback period is short, while drastically increasing energy efficiency during use.

Each LED retrofit – provided by the Student Office of Sustainability – will use a minimum of 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting, according to the United States Department of Energy.

Anthony Rongstad, the associate director of the Facilities Department, said the lamps are currently being installed by the department’s sustainability interns, Austen Fairbanks and Gwen Kieffer.

Alongside the SOS, the interns work alongside the Xcel Energy: Energy Internship program through the university.

Lauren Becker, director of the SOS, saw the student-driven initiative toward fiscal sustainability, which led to the execution of lighting retrofits. “We answer to students and students alone,” Becker said. “Right now, students are concerned about the resiliency of our structures and systems in the face of changing climate and social injustice.”

The lighting is set to be completed first in Sutherland Hall by the fall semester.


More information about future sustainable projects on campus can be found online at www.uwec.edu/sos.