Public university upgrades lighting across campus to improve academics and student safety.
$140,856.12 / year
3,400,691 lbs lbs/year
Athens, West Virginia
Concord University is a public university in West Virginia. Founded in 1872, the university has grown to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees spanning the arts, sciences and professional studies. They have more than 2,000 students and 300 employees on their Athens, West Virginia campus.
To maintain it’s status as the top public, regional college in West Virginia, Concord committed to improving student life through proactive upgrades to its buildings. Upgrading the lighting to LED was one such project, but the university didn’t want to take on additional debt and or go through the time-intensive process of getting a bond through the state.
Concord University turned to the Sparkfund Technology Subscription™ to get the job done. Using the subscription model, Concord had 30,000 lights across campus replaced without spending any capital up front.
“[The regulatory agencies in the state] had never seen a proposal that solved this problem in such an innovative way,” said university President Kendra Boggess.
The lighting was especially important to the university in outdoor areas such as parking lots that were previously underlit. Indoors, Associate Dean of Students Rick Dillon noticed it was difficult to see books on the shelves in the library and the school closed a dance studio due to low lighting.
The comprehensive nature of the technology subscription was also important to Concord. With Sparkfund and their local vendor, Helios Energy, handling the logistics of installation and all ongoing repairs, the school’s maintenance staff could focus on larger, more strategic projects.
The lighting project had a significant impact both on an off campus. Concord’s faculty and students immediately noticed a difference in university safety and aesthetics. Dillon said the security staff noticed an immediate improvement in the security camera video feeds after the outdoor lighting was updated. Inside, students noticed significant changes in the classrooms, hallways, library and fitness center. The women’s volleyball team saw such a difference that they volunteered to repaint the court walls so it looked better in the new light. “So many of the students and faculty have commented to me that the classrooms are so much better lit now,” he said, “and it’s easier for students to interact with their professors because the lighting is better.”
The university experienced up to an 80% reduction in costs in some cases, and the maintenance crew also experienced a lighter workload, with Sparkfund taking over ongoing maintenance for all of the lights. Off campus, 10 local workers were hired for the project, which injected $84,000 into the local economy.
“We decided to do this project because it made sense to save the power and not have my staff changing light bulbs,” Dillon said. “But some of the other things that we assumed would get better — the looks of the buildings and safety — have overshot the mark.”
The fitness center has improved tremendously with the new lighting changes. Students feel safer with brighter lighting when using weights and working out.
Ellie Thomas, student