At Princeton, lighting technology is one of the many fronts of the University’s Sustainability effort. Many people have replaced incandescent lamps in their homes with CFL’s or compact fluorescents. At Princeton, CFL’s have been in general use for many years and by 1990 they supplanted much of the University’s incandescent lighting. The next level of lighting technology, using LED’s or light emitting diodes, is being tested in some areas of the Parking Garage and outdoors along the lower section of Elm Drive.
LED based lighting technologies compare favorably with CFL’s for several reasons. Properly designed and implemented, LED type lamps have the potential to last nearly twice as long as their CFL counterparts. Also, unlike most CFL’s, LED’s contain no mercury or phosphorus so at the end of their service life, their disposal is less problematic. LED lamps are very tough with regards to vibration or impact and are more easily made to be completely recyclable and sustainable.
Both technologies, CFL and LED, offer a major energy efficiency advantage over incandescent lighting. The switch to CFL’s has served the University (and the environment) quite well, with thousands of watts of energy saved since 1990 and tons of carbon emissions avoided. Hopefully, switching to LED technology in the places where it makes the best sense will help continue the trends that make Princeton “greener.”