Columbia Buildings Advance University Sustainability Goals with New LED Lighting Upgrades

March 08, 2023

Columbia University Facilities and Operations has completed a pilot program to replace incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs in eight campus buildings – comprised of nearly 1.2 million square feet and 11,000 fixtures – to help reduce the University’s energy consumption.

The upgrades helped conserve about 1,900 Megawatt hours of electricity, and reduced campus emissions by 560 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. 

The success from the pilot paved the way for a multi-year initiative aimed to reduce energy consumption through lighting across the entire Morningside campus, with LED lighting conversions continuing over the next several years. When complete, the conversion is anticipated to result in a significant reduction in energy consumption and operating costs, in line with Columbia’s sustainability goals.

Benefits of upgrading to the longer-lasting LED bulbs have been felt by Facilities and Operations as well as building occupants, who have seen significantly less service requests placed for LED bulb changes as compared to incandescent bulbs. LEDs are also safer than incandescent bulbs as the average temperature is much cooler, reducing the risk of combustion and burns.

In addition, LED products are the standard choice for new construction projects and bulb replacements across campus. 

Columbia’s sustainability plan, Plan 2030, covers the University’s sustainability goals through the year 2030 to ensure the University is on a path to achieve its long term goal of net zero by 2050 or sooner.