The annual Environmental Leadership Awards were held on Wednesday, April 24 to recognize students, faculty, staff, and community members who demonstrate exceptional Environmental Leadership in their everyday lives.
The final award of the night was a new award presented by Chancellor Wayne T. Davis in its inaugural year – the Special Project Recognition Award. It was awarded to the Facilities Services Department and Parking and Transit department for their joint project in lighting upgrades in eight of the parking garages on campus.
The Committee on the Campus Environment, who votes on the awards, felt this nomination was so unique and worthy of an award that a new category for campus initiatives was created. The goal of this new category is to highlight the great strides in environmental and energy conservation here at UT that are often the result of teams of people working across departments toward a common goal.
The extensive, large-scale replacement of all lighting in eight of UT’s Parking Garages with energy-efficient LED lighting resulted in significant utilities savings and higher quality lighting throughout our campus garages with 4,350 fixtures replaced.
“The enhanced lighting is a major positive improvement for safety and security which is an ongoing challenge in parking garages that historically have dim and low levels of light due to the limitations of past lighting technologies prior to the advent of LEDs.” said Chancellor Davis
The project required a major investment of more than $1 million dollars upfront to execute, but a full payback for these costs is expected to return in just over three years. The new lighting has already resulted in $290,000 annually in utilities cost savings due to the energy efficiency of LED lights.
A unique challenge the team faced was coordinating the installation work around class times and UT events, which provided many challenges and very short windows of opportunity to install all the lighting—especially in hard-to-reach areas.
The innovative and unique manner in which this project was financed and executed certainly will pay dividends for years to come on the UT campus in many ways. This project is a shining example of what can happen through strong partnerships, smart thinking, and a focus on sustainability.
Mark Hairr, Director of Parking and Transit and Derek Bailey, General Superintendent for the STAR Team in Facilities Services accepted the award on behalf of their respective departments.