The first thing I thought of when I called Elio Chimento, Clarks lead electrician, was how similar his name is to Helios, the Titan God of the sun. Elio seemed pretty fitting name for someone who was about to talk to me about lights for the next 45 minutes or so. I wonder if Elio ever flies around on a chariot like Helios. I guess I’ll have to ask him when I go back and follow up…
Elio attributed a lot of the progress he and his team have made to the availability of LED light bulbs. With very minimal rewiring an LED tube can be installed where a fluorescent one once was. The savings from doing so are clear. It’s worth it, so let’s get down and dirty and do it. LED lights can produce more light while using far less electricity. Thanks to the fact that many people have started making them, the initial high cost of purchasing an LED light bulb has gone down. Elio’s next big project is automating the Dolan with lights that he can control from his tablet on the go or from his computer in his office.
Doing so would allow light to truly only be used when it needs to be. When I asked about if this is something that is in the works for the Kneller as well he gave me a two-part answer. The first makes a whole lot of sense. This is the simple fact that the Dolan is operating as something of a trial run. Elio has observed similar systems in other buildings and gymnasiums and has now opted to try it out for himself. The second reason had to do with maintaining the necessary amount of foot candles to adhere to NCAA regulations. Even now as I am sitting and writing this I am not entirely sure where to find what exactly this number is and why meeting it with an automated system might be difficult. I guess the man I should be asking is Elio, not Google. It would seem to me that safety is safety. If a space is well-lit enough to be a functioning practice space, why is that not good enough for our main gym.
Elio then went on to tell me about the other exciting things that are going on down by the Dolan – solar powered lights. Everytime the tennis team finishes practice, he told me, they switch off the lights on the courts and turn on the lights along the outfield of the baseball field in order to walk out of the facilities. In doing so an enormous amount of energy is wasted almost every night. The answer to this problem? Install a set of solar powered lights to fill in for turning on the lights by the baseball field. Although these lights have a high overhead installation price, the hope is that they will pay off in the long run. Also, it saves Elio and his team from having to do some serious digging in order to put in new wiring were they to put in non-solar powered lights. Somewhat to my surprise, my conversation with Elio ended on a similar note to that with the one I had with Pete. Though he did not get quite as excited as Pete had, Elio was sure to mention solar roadways, too. With at least these two guys on board with the idea should the technology hold and continue to progress, it would not surprise me if more of the team over at physical plant is thinking along the same lines.