Siena College, a liberal arts school in Loudonville, New York, is constructing its 23,225-square-foot new Rosetti Hall, an academic building of classrooms and offices expected to receive LEED Silver certification. Mark Frost, assistant vice president of facilities management at the college, estimates a 20 to 25 percent energy savings through its many environmental initiatives, including an aggressive lighting strategy that includes all-LED lighting.

“Our plan going in was to have high-performance lighting,” Frost says, “[which, at the time, included] mostly fluorescent-type lighting.” Halfway through the design process, the electrical engineer on the project told Frost about an incentive program through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that would allow them to get all LED lighting. “We were selected as one of two projects in the state for this program and shifted gears from the high-performance fluorescent fixtures to LED,” he says. “Every single fixture will be LED.”

The watts per square foot for LED lighting will be approximately 15 percent less than T8 fluorescent lighting. The college estimates that this will provide a savings of 42,000 kilowatt-hours per year, which will amount to $4,500 in savings on electricity costs per year.

Additionally, lighting controls will bring big savings because every room will have dimming controls. “We believe that many offices and classrooms will utilize dimming to a greater extent than they would traditionally use inboard/outboard lighting, which will add to the cost savings realized from a traditional solution,” Frost says.

Other savings will come from windows in large common spaces, classrooms, offices, and vestibules that will let in light during the day, reducing the need for artificial lighting. The stair towers will have fixtures with occupancy sensors that will set the light to 10 percent when not occupied. All offices and classrooms will also have occupancy sensors that will turn the lighting fixtures off if the room is unoccupied for a certain period of time.

“In addition to energy savings, there will be savings for lamp replacements and less cost for disposal of mercury contained in fluorescent lamps,” Frost says. He adds that traditional T8 lamps have an average life of 20,000 hours; the LED lights have a minimum of 50,000-hour life expectancy, but many manufacturers believe that they will actually last up to 70,000 hours.

Siena College expects to save a minimum of two fluorescent lighting change-outs over the life of the LED light sources, which will save 1,140 T8 lamps, 240 18-watt compact fluorescent lamps, and 120 hours of labor totaling an approximate wage savings of $9,500. Given these estimates, the college expects to save at least $77,000 over the life of the LED light sources.

Rosetti Hall, designed by Sacco + McKinney Architects and built by MLB Construction Services, is currently under construction and will also incorporate geothermal heating and cooling and photovoltaic solar panels. Siena College expects the building to be open in August 2013, just in time for the fall semester.