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Bright lights shining on physical education at the University of Saskatchewan

Physical education at the University of Saskatchewan has just been given a power up with the help of LED lighting.

Two major retrofits at the Education pool and the PAC gym have resulted in major energy savings at the university while showing off the versatility and usefulness of LED lighting. Overhead lights (and underwater lights in the case of the pool) were replaced with newer, more energy efficient LED bulbs to reduce energy needs while better addressing the lighting needs of these two specialized facilities.

Swimming in Savings

The pool in the Education Building found itself dealing with a unique lighting problem: their energy hungry high bay HID lighting was experiencing high failure rates and, due to the lights’ placement overtop of the pool, required a complete draining of the pool in order to replace them. On top of these issues, the dingy lighting wasn’t particularly appealing to visitors, clouding the pool in a dim pallor.

The solution offered two-fold savings: the new, efficient LEDs resulted in a 60% reduction in lighting energy use and the use of strategically placed directional fixtures allowed for the removal of the middle row of lights, meaning that lights could now be replaced without having to drain the pool. The changes agreed with a recent upgrade to the pool’s filtration system, which requires less frequent draining.

The new, brighter lights have brought life back into the pool, making colours pop and – in the case of the underwater lamps – better illuminating the water for swimmers. The change from 3 rows of 400W high-intensity discharge (HID) lights to 2 rows of 160W LEDs has resulted in massive energy savings, meaning more room in the budget for potential upgrades in the future.

Presenting the PAC in a New Light

While the main gym at the PAC didn’t require the draining of a pool to change its lights, the height of the roof created an entirely different set of issues. The previous lights offered little control, short lifespans, high energy use, and required a lift when they needed replacing.

Enter the gym’s new LEDs. The new retrofit features advanced controls, allowing for increased flexibility in terms of what kind of events can be hosted in the facility. The increased brightness of lights has also made for better filming conditions, meaning that events broadcast on TV are much more enjoyable to watch.

The change from 400W bulbs to 200W LEDs save 50% in lighting energy costs and should last for 15 years, a welcome disruption from the previous 2 year relamp schedule. Roger Moskaluke, Facility Manager at the College of Kinesiology, says the lights have been met with a warm reception. "The changeover was very noticeable to the user. The LEDs offer a much whiter, cleaner, brighter, safer, light for active participants in our academic, athletic and recreation programs. They've allowed Huskie Athletics to enhance the game day experience of our fans; blacking out the gym for player introductions, Huskie logoed spotlights, and lighting up only centre court during the game are all now a reality. It really changes the gym experience."

Bright Futures Ahead for U of S Athletics

The changes seen at the Education pool and the PAC main gym have been happily received by the users of both buildings. Large savings in energy costs and a more enjoyable user experience spells out a win-win for the installation of these lights.

The results of these retrofits have been so successful that a greenlight has been given for two additional athletic facility retrofits: the gymnastics gym at the PAC will undergo a similar relamp in the summer of 2017, while the PAC pool will be slated for a retrofit in December, 2017.

With positive results like this, it’s easy to see how sustainability and athletics make for great teammates.

Story originally appeared on the Office of Sustainability's site (source).

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