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Letter to the Editor: 'Illuminating Ideas'

By Teresa Greis, Campus Sustainability Officer


I am responding to the article in the April 26 edition of the Chronicle by Miles Bett titled "Illuminating Idea: The Lightbulb Reinvented Energy For a New Age." Lighting technologies are always changing with an emphasis on efficiency. When I first came to Hofstra in 1985, most lighting systems used T12 40-watt fluorescent lamps and magnetic ballasts. This system utilized 48 watts of electricity per lamp and lasted 20,000 hours. In the 1990s Hofstra did a campus-wide lighting upgrade which changed to more efficient T8 32-watt fluorescent lamps and electronic ballasts. The new system used only 30 watts per lamp. As of last year, due to improvements in technology, Hofstra started using T8 25-watt lamps with electronic ballasts that use only 23 watts of electricity per lamp and are rated for 40,000 hours.

Fluorescent lighting is not the only technology that has undergone great change. Over the past few years there have been major advances in LED lighting. In 2011 Hofstra University installed LED lights in Breslin Hall, the west unispan and the Fortunoff Theater. LED lights on campus are being installed at additional locations this year.

The Fortunoff Theater project is a good example of the numerous benefits that result from the use of LED lights. The original lights in the theater were 150-watt halogen lamps that lasted only 1,300 hours. Sixty new 25-watt LED fixtures were installed in December. The reduced wattage per fixture is 125 watts (83 percent). The lamp has a rated life of 50,000 hours. This will eliminate over 35 lamps changes per fixture. The project benefits include, but are not limited to, reduced maintenance costs, enhanced lighting, reduced energy costs and a reduction in Hofstra's carbon footprint.

Hofstra continues to be aware of improvements in lighting technologies. Wherever feasible the Plant Department will continue to upgrade the lights on campus to more energy-efficient systems. If you have any questions regarding this article or any other sustainability questions please send an email to

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