Case Histories (Real-World Solutions)

Lighting Solution Leads to Big Savings


Choosing Cree for a lighting upgrade saved SDCCD money, which freed up financial room for other needs and projects.

With the passing of California’s Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39), Chris Manis, vice chancellor of Facilities Management for the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD), saw a golden opportunity to finance facility upgrades across his campus system. A state program providing funding for improving energy efficiency, Prop 39 makes available up to $550 million annually to eligible educational agencies to pay for energy projects with a strong return on investment.

As the second-largest community college district in the state, SDCCD continues to grow rapidly, tripling their footprint in less than 10 years while at the same time maintaining their commitment to sustainability.

It quickly became apparent that lighting projects were the preferred funding recipients. As Manis explains: “If I save 20 percent on my electric bill, then those dollars became available for other projects. We call lighting the low-hanging fruit because it has one of the largest savings potentials, especially when upgrading older facilities that still have incandescent or older fluorescent fixtures.” Once funding was secured, SDCCD worked with several partners to find a lighting solution that would have the largest ROI while meeting socially responsible investment goals. One name rose to the top — Cree.

As far as light quality, Mark Doubleday, senior planner, Energy Systems & Facilities Maintenance for SDCCD, states, “With fluorescent, you are constantly getting pounded with flicker. Because the Cree lights are so much more consistent and there’s no flicker, the lights look brighter so we’ve had to make adjustments. We’re using daylight sensing and we’re dimmed below factor y measurements, so we’re getting additional estimated 25-30 percent savings at minimum as well as extending fixture life.”

This article originally appeared in the issue of .