Opinion: New campus lighting may need adjustments

Cory Spiers

The responsible use of energy is important for cost efficiency due to its inflation and, fortunately, Appalachian State University seems to realize this fundamental principle.


Physical Plant made the decision to replace the all outdoor lights on campus with LED lights Oct. 30. This will save the university $53,000 in electricity and $30,000 in labor, according to The Appalachian.

This is a smart move for our university. Not only energy wise, but it also addresses safety during the night hours.

This idea is part of a $16.5 million energy savings contract with Pepco Energy.

The usual orange lighting on campus will be obsolete due to the amount of hours they last.

Mike O’Connor, director of Physical Plant, said the LED lighting system will last over 100,000 hours compared to the mere 10,000 to 12,000 hours of the normal orange lights. 

O’Connor said that orange lights washout color to make things look orange and are prone to shadows, however, the LEDs will allow better clarity on surroundings and people.

While some may argue that it would be too bright, O’Connor said that the new system will give out the same amount of light, but use 65 to 70 percent less energy than the old ones while offering better visual clarity.

LEDs generate less heat than incandescent lights and this can be an advantage, however, it can also be an issue that will increase or decrease the likelihood of failure.

In colder temperatures, due to low heat emission, LEDs have been known to build up with snow and ice. Ask Lakewood, Ohio about the low heat generation, where traffic lights were coated in snow, according to newsnet5.com.

I do think Appalachian needs to take precautions with this new system during the cold winters when snow is a virtual guarantee. How will students traverse the campus if they cannot see when the only light source is blocked with snow? What about failure of the system?

This is a step in the right direction to be a more energy efficient campus. A new light may be coming to Appalachian, but there are some disadvantages that must be addressed.

Opinion: JUWAN WILFONG, Opinion writer