• Southwestern partnered with MHSC Energy Management to replace lights in the Robertson Center with LEDs in December 2020.

Southwestern University partnered with MHSC Energy Management to replace all lights in the Robertson Center’s indoor track, outdoor canopy, and Robertson Gymnasium with LEDs beginning in December 2020. A Sustainable Advancements Funding Endeavor Grant (SAFE) will fund $25,560 of the project’s total cost of $41,290. These upgrades will augment the energy reductions already generated by earlier LED replacements in Heather Hall, The Cove, and the Walzel Court.

Previously featured in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 353 Green Colleges and ranked #1 for renewable energy use among U.S. colleges in 2019, SU’s commitment to energy conservation and sustainability is longstanding: the university made a formal commitment to sustainable practices in 2007 by signing the Talloires Declaration, and the campus is home to two LEED-certified buildings. In addition to reducing environmental impacts, the LED upgrades will reduce maintenance costs and be much more user-friendly on a day-to-day basis. 

“I believe these lights will have a bigger impact on our campus than simply enhancing our sustainability efforts.  These LED lights will remove the constant buzzing noise produced by our current lighting configuration. Additionally, because the new lights do not need the warm-up and downtime required by the old lights, we will immediately gain greater flexibility to utilize the gym in new ways for all the students at Southwestern,” explains Glenn Schwab, SU’s director of intercollegiate athletics.

The LED enhancements will allow the Robertson Center to better serve all members of the SU community as a hub of campus activities ranging from sporting events to commencement, and the 126,052 kilowatt-hours saved each year will reduce energy use by 73% and annual expenses by $12,920, resulting in an approximately three-year payback period. These energy savings help solidify SU’s position as a leader among the nation’s “green” colleges and further encourage students, faculty, and staff to continue to devise new sustainability initiatives.

To learn more about Southwestern’s commitment to environmental stewardship, please visit https://www.southwestern.edu/live/news/10551-commitment-to-sustainable-practices-secures-green. To read about sustainability projects and practices to date, please visit https://www.southwestern.edu/about-southwestern/sustainability/campus-stewardship/.