Rochester hospital gets major energy-efficient upgrade

Parking garages are often considered unsafe places, particularly for women walking to their cars late at night. That’s why many property owners invest in lighting systems to make these areas more visible and thus more secure. However in New York State, a new piece of legislation has given one parking lot not just brighter lights, but also more energy-efficient ones.

Energy Efficient HospitalFor decades, Highland Hospital in Rochester, NY, has had a reputation for innovation. It was the first hospital in the U.S. to treat diabetes with insulin. It was also the first in New York State to ban cigarette vending machines. And now, thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Highland Hospital will be among the first in the state to upgrade its lighting with an energy-efficient system.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) granted the hospital about $72,000 for its lighting project. The upgrades include replacing high-pressure sodium and metal halide lighting fixtures with T8 and T5 fluorescent lights.

The benefits of T8 and T5 lighting include the following:

  • Huge savings in energy bills; the hospital can then re-direct this money to funding more meaningful initiatives
  • An overall reduction in the facility’s carbon footprint
  • These fluorescent bulbs use less energy but deliver brighter light


Michael Zanghi, Director of Facilities at Highland Hospital, has been impressed with the quality of the the new lighting.

“The garage seems brighter, even though the number of lumens is the same,” he said.

The project is forecast to pay for itself within four years. It is expected to save the hospital more than $22,000 each year. Meanwhile, energy-efficient fixtures save more than just energy.  These lamps last longer, which means they are replaced less often. In addition to the cost savings, this frees up time for the hospital’s facilities department.

“Retrofitting the lamps has reset the clock on our maintenance program for the garage,” added Zanghi.

NYSERDA has helped Highland Hospital reach its energy goals, but the authority says it still has a long way to go. The office is on a mission to reduce New York State’s energy consumption and promote the use of renewable energy sources.

And in this tough economy, environmental projects like the one at Highland Hospital have been able to create hundreds of jobs at a time. Energy consulting company Alliance Energy Solutions was contracted to execute this lighting project. The firm’s COO says it’s because of lighting projects like this one that the company has been able to retain employees instead of letting them go during hard economic times.

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