Written by Enerlight on October 15, 2017 in Press Release

Enerlight, Inc, has been featured in Power Boosters® Illinois Energy Efficiency Success Stories, a publication of the Safe Energy Communication Council, on EnergyVortex.com, American School & University®, and The New York Real Estate Journal. Below is a reprint from the featured article in Power Boosters®.


Eastern Illinois University (EIU) has achieved valuable operating savings by upgrading the lighting systems throughout its campus, allowing it to spend more on its students and less on energy bills. The university is now saving $250,000 a year while improving the learning environment for its students as the result of a comprehensive, campus-wide lighting upgrade.

Situated on 325 acres in Charleston , Illinois and comprised of 70 buildings covering a total of three million sq. ft., EIU is at-tended by nearly 11,000 students, 6,000 of whom are housed on campus. The lighting upgrade was part of a major infrastructure improvement program launched in October 2001 that also upgraded heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and water systems.

Enerlight Inc, an Illinois-based energy services company, conducted the lighting portion of the upgrade, which included more than 1.5 million sq. ft. of space in 30 university buildings, including dormitories, classrooms, dining halls, laboratories, offices, gymnasiums, and other public spaces. According to Enerlight President Tim McKenna, the main objectives of the project were to save energy, increase light levels, and improve the quality of light in EIU facilities. The project is also benefiting EIU by standardizing the previously outdated lighting throughout the campus, simplifying future maintenance and inventory requirements.

A major focus of the project was widespread replacement of outdated T-12 fluorescent lamps and magnetic ballasts with more than 26,000 32-watt T-8 fluorescent lights operated by 10,000 instant-start electronic ballasts, which were supplied by Rosemont, Illinois-based Advance Transformer Company. EIU facilities were also outfitted with nearly 1,000 new lighting fixtures and 500 light-emitting diode (LED) exit signs. More than 300 occupancy sensors were installed to reduce lighting system use. All of the work was done while school was in session, requiring Energy Investments to upgrade classrooms and public spaces at night and residential facilities after 9 a.m. each day. “Achieving success in a project as diverse and challenging as this one required a close working relationship with the EIU staff and a clear understanding of the needs of the students and faculty,” according to McKenna of Enerlight.

The project is expected to reduce electricity use by 3.7 million kWh annually and reduce energy costs by $300,000 per year. Based on the $1.1 million cost of the lighting upgrade, the project will realize a payback period of 3 to 4 years and will produce an attractive annual return on investment to EIU of 25% to 35%. EIU Facilities Manager Gary Reed could not have been more pleased with the execution of the project or the results, which have been guaranteed to the school for 10 years through an energy savings performance contract. “Based on the sheer economics of the project, pursuing an upgrade of this nature was a ‘no-brainer’ for Eastern Illinois University ,” affirmed Reed. “The upgrade reduces our deferred maintenance needs and the savings generated by the project assure us the funds to support future repairs, allowing the University to reallocate resources to other priorities. Upgrades like these represent great opportunities for public higher education facilities like ours, which have to compete for limited funds.”

“The benefits of the project to EIU-significant energy and cost savings, enhanced lighting, and simplified maintenance for years to come-are in themselves the reward,” concluded McKenna of Energy Investments.

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© Safe Energy Communication Council, Washington , DC