From Green Right Now Reports

Eager to save money and become more energy efficient, many colleges have been early adopters of new lighting.

But there’s been a downside: Today’s dorms and student centers are often lit by flickery CFLs, which can have a harsh fluorescent light that fails to brighten quickly, especially in cool temperatures. In addition, those “squiggly lights,” as opponents of energy efficiency have dubbed the compact fluorescents, contain mercury, which is dangerous if inhaled should the light bulb break.

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LEDs provide even coverage to a kitchen in a new dorm at NCSU.

Cree Lighting Inc. of North Carolina hopes universities across the globe will see that it has a better solution in the LED lights the US company produces.

The company has showcased its LEDs at a new dorm at North Carolina State University. The Wolf Ridge at Centennial Silver-certified dorm features two buildings that are fully lit by LEDs that will last for 50,000 hours (they’re guaranteed for 10 years) and spread a pleasant, even light, keeping kitchens, hallways and stairways brighter and safer.

The university focused on placing LEDs in common areas, where they could get the most return for their money.

“As facilities manager, I’ve tried to steer us towards the biggest bang for the buck,” says Pete Fraccaroli. “And that means the stairwells and hallways where lights burn 24/7.”

But the team overseeing improvements also installed LEDs – specifically a light called the SL24 LED Surface Linear luminaire –  in the dorm rooms, which they call apartments.

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Officials say the brighter LEDs create a safer environment for students.

“We’ve gotten good feedback on the SL24 fixture. The look of it and the way we used it in those apartments, I think it turned out really well,” said Dr. Tim Luckadoo, vice provost for campus life in a statement about the project.

Although LEDs cost more upfront, they last longer, providing a return on investment that can yield an overall savings, according to Cree. The NCSU officials report that they also considered that the lights save staff time, because dorm assistants will not have to replace bulbs so often.

The team was also energized about the better quality of the lighting.

“The quality of light from the fluorescents is not very good because a student might have a four-tube fixture in the room, and as long as two of the bulbs are still burning, they won’t call in a work order,” says Fraccaroli. “They’ll sit there all semester with a light that’s not performing as it was designed.”

By contrast, the Cree LEDs receive high marks from the students, officials said.

  • Read more at Cree Lighting Inc.