Finding a parking space at the garage near the Memorial Union may be harder than normal for a couple weeks while the structure undergoes lighting improvements.
The North Entry Parking Structure is going through a light replacement project that aims to save energy, money and provide patrons with a safer and better-lit structure.
The project, which began Oct. 28 and is expected to take three weeks to one month, will change all the garage’s old light bulbs to more energy-efficient, motion-sensored lights in an effort to reduce the campus‘ carbon footprint.
“We realized that some of the technology out there has bulbs that last up to 10 times longer,” said Chris Cioni, the Facilities Management Associate director. “We wouldn’t have to maintain those burnt out light bulbs which reduce maintenance costs, as well as making the campus more reliable and safer.”
Transportation and Parking Services will be closing approximately 50 to 70 parking spaces per day in order to complete the project. Signage will be posted at the entry of the structure to inform patrons which levels and parking spots will be affected that day, according to the press release.
The new bulbs use motion-sensors to detect movement within 20 to 30 feet to turn on to full capacity. If no motion is detected after roughly five minutes, the lights will reduce to 50 percent capacity, Cioni said.
“What is key here is that people think that if you’re going to conserve, you’re going to have to do without,” Cioni said. “In this case, we are saving energy, providing more energy sufficient methods that cost less to maintain.”
The improvements to the structure are expected to save approximately $25,000 per year. Plans to expand the light replacement project to other parking structures – including the upper level of the Mondavi Center structure – could cost upwards of $800,000. However, Cioni expects $300,000 in energy rebate funds to offset the cost of the program.
Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS), in partnership with the California Lighting and Technology Center, Facilities Management, UC Davis Police Department and PG&E have come together to make this project possible.
“In terms of the public, it is more reliable and is better quality lighting,” Cioni said.
Changes to the parking structure can already be seen with the new bright lights and some are already enjoying the benefits.
“It’s brighter in here, [the lights] are better,” said Anna Garcia Bernal, a junior managerial economics major who was parking her car in the newly lit structure. “The yellow [lights] are kind of dimmed. It probably saves a lot of energy and it’s not as dark anymore.”
Signs near the metered parking read that the lights “last up to 80,000 plus hours longer than previous lamp types.”
Cioni said that eventually, all the parking structures and surface level parking lots will undergo light changes, with aims to finish the project by next July.
For more information about the project and parking spot closures, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at email@example.com.