Campus lighting more energy efficient
By Keating Smith, Staff Writer
Students at the New Westminster campus may have noticed brighter hallways at school as Douglas College facilities services have been busy over the past year upgrading ceiling and light fixtures throughout the campus. The job was last undertaken over 30 years ago.
Facilities manager Louie Girotto estimates roughly 2,700 ceiling tiles have been installed to over 3,200 square metres of ceiling throughout the campus—enough tiles to cover almost half the playing surface of an American football field.
“The old acoustic tiles were dirty and sagging due to dust, humidity, and age,” Girotto said. “As the project is still underway, we’re not certain on the final quantity of ceiling tiles. We will need to wait until the project is complete [as] we added to some areas missed during the original design.”
Facilities were able to salvage most of the existing aluminium grid that holds the tiles in place, which significantly reduced project costs. The replacements began in 2011 on levels three and four. On top of replacing the tiles, all of the fluorescent lighting has been replaced by more modern and energy efficient fixtures that use a third less energy while lit.
“The existing fluorescent fixtures were still using T-12 tubes and their plastic light fixture lenses were brittle or broken and replacements were not available due to their age, so we replaced them with the new T-8 fixtures,” Girotto said. “With the fixtures, we were able to optimize the layout to distribute light better and in addition, we will also be controlling the corridor lights in the new areas via motion sensors that will turn off corridor lights where there is no pedestrian traffic [and] emergency lights will still be lit so students don’t need a flashlight if there is a blackout.”
In addition to the ceiling and light fixtures, facilities services found several points of water ingress into the building under the concrete floors at the east entrance into the concourse and next to the east entrance on the third floor. Contractors resealed cracks in the concrete with tar adhesives and modified floor drains in the areas to combat future water issues.