The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Proposed new lighting system could save energy, costs

A plan is currently in the works to remotely control campus lighting using power lines already in two parking structures to save energy and costs.

The cost of installing remotes into the B3 and B5 parking structures would be more than $110,000. The money saved from the retrofit lighting would be more that $37,000 per year.

“It’s a very good energy project,” Executive Director of Physical Plant Management Tom Brown said. “Anytime you can invest in anything and get your money back in less than four years, it’s a great deal.”

At the moment, lighting for both parking structures is set to be turned on and off during the day and night through limited timer controls, leaving more energy for lights to be turned on throughout the night. For safety purposes, emergency lighting is left on 24 hours a day.

The plan comes from a July proposal from the company Powerline Control Systems, a company primarily staffed by CSUN alumni. Physical Plant Management and the Department of Public Safety are still working out the details.

IPC technology would allow CSUN personnel to set the lighting to varying brightness levels and turn them on or off. Since power lines already exist inside the B5 and B3 parking structures, this would limit the amount of rewiring required for the hardware installation. This would allow cutting down on power in the hours when there are no cars in the structures.

“We just tested it to look at how the lighting works, and when we looked at it the chief gave the OK to move forward,” said Captain Alfredo Fernandez of Parking and Transportation Services. “But at this point, we’re still in the discussion phase.”

One factor that has been taken into consideration about this project is safety.

Public Safety Chief of Police Anne P. Glavin said she wanted to be sure that the lighting didn’t present a safety hazard to anyone using the parking structures, which is why the department partnered with Physical Plant Management on the project.

“Safety is paramount,” Glavin said. “And we want to ensure that there’s enough lighting so that anyone in the garage, regardless of the time of night, has plenty of lighting.”

“What we’re trying to do is to make sure we keep the lighting bright enough to deter crime, but at the same time not waste so much light when there’s simply nobody in there and nobody around,” Glavin said.

Glavin also said that if the new lighting system is successful, it would likely be included in the plans for the G3 parking structure, the construction of which is scheduled to begin in October or November.

Brown said other energy conservation options were explored while the B3 parking structure was being constructed, but the option of using solar power to light the structure was too costly to consider.

“We’re saving energy. That’s the big thing,” Brown said. “We have to do better in our society and our world. We’re just too wasteful and our resources are too precious.”

PCS founder Marshall Lester, who is a CSUN graduate, said, “No other company can offer this type of technology.”

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