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A Bright Idea: Reducing Energy Through Material Reuse

AU reduces waste by reusing materials from demolition during recent tunnel renovation.

Some of the reused light fittings that were diverted from waste.

This past summer’s construction projects in the Tunnel resulted in new and improved retail options, as well as an opportunity to support American University’s commitment to sustainability. One such opportunity was the repurposing of materials left from the demolition and relocation of the former campus bookstore in Butler Pavilion to its new location in the former Eagle’s Nest space in the Tunnel.

Capital Construction Director of Project Management Leo Casas, “During the design process of the reimagined Tunnel, we considered better ways to dispose of materials scheduled for demolition in the old construction. As much material as possible was designated to either be reused or recycled.”

Casas worked collaboratively with Facilities Management’s energy manager Juan Allen and Zone D electricians David Lord and Caesar Caicedo to coordinate the reclamation of eighty 22-watt LED lighting retrofit kits from the old bookstore. Twenty of the reclaimed fixtures were used to replace the 120-watt fixtures in the Sports Center Complex terrace-level hallway leading to the locker rooms. This replacement alone will save 17, 520 kwh of electricity annually. That translates to a CO2 reduction of 12.2 metric tons, the equivalent of energy used in a year by 2.4 homes. The remaining LED kits will be used soon in other parts of the Sports Complex to retrofit existing fluorescent fixtures. 

Allen commented, “I was pleased that, through the collaborative effort and resourceful thinking of the various members of our team, we were able to bring about significant energy savings while supporting the university’s sustainability initiatives.”