In December, a significant gift came to the UUTC Sponsored Projects fund, allowing the Board to select a project from the list of "wishes" towards improving our congregational space.
That selected project was the installation of LED lighting in many of the spaces that were previously served by florescent fixtures. Our old fixtures had/have rusty and failed/failing ballasts due entirely to their age, and were definitely more appropriate to their original design intent: illuminating the appliance showroom of a natural gas company.
Above, you can see the first phase work: the social hall, gutted of its two foot x four foot fixtures. In this image, you can also see the new cross ties installed across the four foot length to create support for new 2'x2' ceiling tiles. We had a few "saved" ceiling tiles in the utilities room, but mostly we need to purchase new ones because of banged up corners and such.
The new lighting is warmer (mostly 2700K), making the spaces friendlier and more appropriate to the vast majority of the activities that take place in the spaces. The fixtures and bulbs are dimmable, and dimmers will be installed soon for the classrooms so that the groups meeting in them can control the lighting to meet their needs.
LED lighting, of course, consumes less power, helping us to reduce our footprint. It will probably create a small difference in our power bill, as not only do these individual bulbs consume only 9 watts of power, but there are fewer bulbs being illuminated than there were in the florescent fixtures. Lighting is not one of the big drivers of our power bill, but it won't hurt, either. Not all spaces were included in this particular upgrade, but most were, and the difference is delightful.
But despite the oh-so-practical reasons for installing the new lights, the greatest impact will be how these spaces now feel. As a liberal religious community, it is part of our values to work towards greater sustainability. But the primary mission of this congregation is to support individual spiritual journeys, and the spaces of this building now feel more in line with that mission.