The lightbulb moment helping to save our environment

Published by  Communications

On 19th Nov 2020

How many people does it take to change 1,135 lightbulbs?

That was one of the questions facing UEA’s Estates team during lockdown, as they embarked on a project to replace all of the lighting inside the Sainsbury Centre with energy-saving alternatives.


The team used lockdown as an opportunity to replace the 700 museum lights and 400 halogen and fluorescent fittings with LED lights, which are around 90% more efficient, while still illuminating the building and its art installations just as effectively.

The LED lamps are fitted with motion sensors, meaning that they don’t need to use the energy to illuminate the building unnecessarily.

The work was completed during a 16-week period earlier this year while the Sainsbury Centre was closed to the public due to the pandemic and will save the building nearly 500,000Kwh of energy per year.

This equates to around 351 metric tons of greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions a year, which is the equivalent of:

The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions if 76 cars were taken off the road for a year

  • The carbon sequestered by 459 acres of forest
  • 119 tons of waste being recycled instead of landfilled
  • The electricity used in 60 homes every year
  • The LEDs also carry significant energy cost savings, meaning the cost of the installation will have been paid off after 2 ½ years.

The Sainsbury Centre project follows a number of other buildings at UEA that have switched to the sustainable, cost-effective LED lighting within the last two years, including the Sportspark, the Library and the Registry.

UEA is this month marking one year until the COP26 conference in Glasgow with the new Climate of Change campaign,  which highlights the University's role in the UK’s climate emergency conversation. You can watch the launch video, and find out more about the campaign, on My UEA.

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