Memorial Union uses new energy-saving technology


Photo: Lyn Bryant/Iowa State Daily

An LED light illuminates the third floor of the Memorial Union’s parking ramp. The lights were recently installed to provide light in the often-dark ramp.

Gibson Akers

The Memorial Union has made another stride in its effort to be a part of the green movement.

The Memorial Union has started to replace the lights in the parking ramp and Grand Hall with new technology: LED lighting.

They have also installed a new temperature control system inside the building, both reducing the amount of energy used by the building and helping cut the building’s carbon footprint.

Outside, the parking ramp has mostly been converted to an LED lighting system. The spiral exit is still awaiting upgrade. Facility Manager Kenneth Umbaugh said they are planning on installing the rest of the lights by the end of the month.

They will also be installing motion detectors and photocells, so the lights are on only when needed. Umbaugh said that the LED lighting will cut the amount of energy it had previously taken to light the parking ramp by 70 percent.

Inside the building, each of Grand Hall’s eight chandeliers has been replaced with LED light bulbs. With the new LED light bulbs, the amount of watts taken to light the room has been reduced to 3,840 watts from a previous total of 15,306 watts, reducing the amount of energy used in the room by 75 percent.

“The LED lights both for the parking ramp and Grand Hall have a five-year warranty, but are expected to last a lot longer,” Umbaugh said.

The Memorial Union has also installed a new temperature control system. This new system has allowed for consistent heating and cooling. 

The system is computer-operated and can only be accessed by certain people. It is also controlled on a room-by-room basis. This will allow decreasing or increasing temperatures when people are or are not in the rooms.

“It’s a real nifty system; I don’t even have to be in the building to adjust the temperature,” Umbaugh said.

Funding for these energy-improving projects has been made possible by the Live Green Committee through their Live Green Loan Fund. This offers a five-year, no-interest loan for energy-improving projects on campus.

The total cost for the energy-improving projects at the Memorial Union totals $250,000 with the parking ramp costing roughly $40,000. The Memorial Union plans on paying back the loan with the money it is saving from using the new systems.

“We are already starting to see a great return on the dollars,” Umbaugh said.