CUIMC Office of Housing Reduces Energy Consumption with LED Lighting

February 26, 2020
Photo of Indrajeet Viswanathan, Diana Mejia and Jayson Mattei in front of Bard Hall
 Jeet Viswanathan, Diana Mejia and Jayson Mattei ensured LED light bulbs were installed in the three housing towers. 

In 2019, the Office of Housing Services at Columbia University Irving Medical Center reported the annual amount of energy consumed in Towers 1, 2 and 3 was about 5,5618,433 kilowatts per hour (kWh). To put it into perspective, that’s equivalent to charging a cell phone approximately 5 billion times a year! The Housing team knew it needed to make improvements to continue reducing carbon emissions on campus. 

Jeet Viswanathan, director of Energy Management and Sustainability for Facilities Engineering, and Diana Mejia, assistant vice president for Campus Operations, teamed up to create a plan to save energy across the three towers which houses more than 800 students. 

“The plan was to replace about 2,500 fluorescent fixtures and incandescent lamps to LED bulbs in approximately 400 residential units,” says Viswanathan. “We received funding from Con-Edison to implement the change of lighting fixtures.” The funding reduced CUIMC’s out of pocket cost to about 30%. 

LED lighting is far more energy efficient when compared to traditional alternatives with energy savings of 80-90% over incandescent or halogen technologies and up to 50% in comparison to fluorescent lamps. The process of generating light is what distinguishes LEDs from traditional lighting, as regular incandescent bulbs produce light by creating heat. 

Jayson Mattei, plant superintendent for the Office of Housing Services, led the project with a team of twelve subcontractors who replaced incandescent lighting fixtures to LED. Collectively, the team was able to complete the work across all three towers in 15 days! The toughest part of the project was mobilizing the release of products from the factory for installation, shipment, installing the fixtures and coordinating with Con-Edison for inspections. 

“In the end, the team was very happy. We feel this is a big step in improving operations and services for students and staff. It’s a big win,” shared Mattei.  

Students housed in the towers will be able to see reduced energy bill towards the end of the year. The Housing team will also benefit from a reduction in maintenance costs since LED fixtures will last a minimum of five years without maintenance. 

“The Office of Housing Services will continue to be committed to ongoing energy savings and improvements across our portfolio, from introducing light sensors in meeting rooms, stairwells, and other public spaces, to installing new LED light fixtures in Bard Hall public spaces, to identifying new lighting specifications for energy efficient products across all our locations,” says Mejia. 

Learn more about some of the additional changes we've implemented across CUIMC and how we're already making a difference to make energy efficiency a priority at CUIMC.