Turn out the lights!!!

Why is it that lights are on so much when they make no difference whatsoever?  And sometimes they seem deliberately wasteful.  I notice this all the time. Here's one example.

For the last couple of years I have attended a UConn football game on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in East Hartford CT at Rentschler Field.  The game is played in the early afternoon.  In both cases it was a bright, sunny day.  Also in both cases, all the field lights were on from the time we arrived.  I have no idea how early in the day they were lighted, but they were on for at least a couple of hours prior to the start of the game.

Note the bright sunshine.  This was late in the game; earlier there were no shadows on the field at all

According to the Rentschler Field website, there are 316 fixtures affixed on four light towers and above the press box.  My best guess is that each fixture is 600-1200 watts. The lights were on for at least 6 hours.  I'll concede that it may have been worthwhile to turn on some of the lights towards the end of the game as the sun got low, but they could have played the entire game without the lights, and no one would have noticed until at least 3:30 PM and probably not at all if they had never come on.

Six hours at 190,000 to 380,000 watts comes to 1100-2300 kWh.  Commercial electricity in CT is about 10 cents per kWh, so the cost to the facility is likely less than $200.  Not an enormous amount.  But completely wasted.  Why should they send their money to Connecticut Light & Power when they can just keep it for themselves?

More importantly, the electricity used at the field results in carbon dioxide and other emissions.  The average emissions per kWh in CT is about 0.3 kg per kWh.  Converting to pounds, that's 750 - 1500 pounds of CO2 emitted because of these unnecessary lights.

The University of Connecticut has embraced sustainability.  It has a Climate Action Plan and has committed to being carbon neutral by 2050.  So we know they are not ignorant of these issues.  Even though they do not own or operate the stadium, they could certainly let their preferences be known to the State of Connecticut (the owner) and Bushnell Management Services, which operates it.

I see this all the time: lights that are on in broad daylight or in places where there is no need (such as no people).  I'll blog on this again in the future.

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