The once dark bridge behind Wal-Mart on the Keene State College campus has recently been illuminated by a newly installed solar light. This is one initiative being taken to make this dark area of campus brighter, safer and more energy efficient.
The new light, installed three weeks ago, will allow campus to save money in maintenance, while also lighting an area of campus that was once a primary safety concern, according to KSC’s Electrical Supervisor, Bill Sevigny.
The light will use the energy collected from the sunlight during the day to illuminate the bridge by night.
The light pole is also equipped with motion sensors, which will strengthen the light’s brightness as movement is sensed on the bridge, according to Sevigny.
Sevigny stated, “With both the photo cell [a switch on the pole controlling the light] giving off ambient light and the motion sensor picking up pedestrians, we’re able to keep that light operating all night long.”
Sevigny said the idea of adding a new light to campus came about after, “A number of different walkthroughs. There were a few locations on campus that were deemed ‘poorly lit.’ One was that area right through the south side of the foot bridge. The issue in that area was not having any available power.”
Sevigny added, “We decided that this would be an avenue for us to explore. In talking with our various vendors we found this product [the solar light] and got the support from the people above us to give it a shot.”
“Cost was a driving factor. It was a little pricey compared to the standard light pole on campus,” Sevigny noted. Sevigny also said that the new light, costing roughly $6,200, was only a bit more than a non-solar light pole used on the KSC campus, and shared that KSC would spend less on maintenance on a solar light than they would spend on the average light pole.
“Ultimately we get a better product, our maintenance costs in time go down considerably and we’re saving money every time we pay the electric bill,” Sevigny stated.
According to Sevigny, the installation of the light pole only took a “few days” and a total of “nine hours.”
Sevigny also explained that solar energy was one of the sustainable strategies the campus and his colleagues have been looking into.
Sevigny explained, “The obvious benefit is that we are not paying for any utility power. The other is the maintenance aspect of it. It is substantially less.”
Sevigny also added, “In terms of solar [energy] there’s a few other particular areas that we’d like to explore. One being a continuation down the footpath. We’re looking at that area between the tennis court hut and the foot bridge itself – and solar is one of the applications we’re looking at.”
KSC’s Coordinator of Energy Services, Diana Duffy, also supported the project. Duffy explained, “There wasn’t any electricity. There was a need to illuminate that area of campus. This was a way of illuminating without polluting.” Duffy added, “I’m excited about it. I hope we can do more.”
Duffy also shared similarly to Sevigny that, “Older lighting technology burns more energy and it needed more maintenance. This brought light without wires, without increasing the electric load.”
Casey Robinson, a sophomore at KSC, supported the idea of the use of solar lighting on campus. Robinson said, “The lighting is sufficient and better.”
KSC junior Kenny Faria said, “It’s [solar panel technology] a great way to cut down on costs. It benefits and helps the school.”
Faria also shared that he believed lighting was needed on the bridge where the light pole was placed.
He explained that, at night, “It would be tough to see anyone coming and kind of risky,” to cross the bridge. Faria mentioned that he thought KSC was working well to create a sustainable campus.
Faria added that, “The TDS building is a big improvement to the school too.”
Director of Campus Safety, Amanda Warman, shared about the new lighting on campus, “We’re happy that Physical Plant was able to supplement campus lighting to improve safety for the students. The additional lighting was a response to student concerns, particularly in the area of the trestle, which is the main pedestrian access to the Winchester Street lot from campus.”
Warman added, “I conduct an annual lighting ‘walk around’ with students each fall and appreciate being able to look at the campus from their perspective. These walks have resulted in a number of improvements to campus safety conditions and the students’ input has been extremely helpful.”
In addition, Sevigny explained that the school has been working to expand the lighting on the bridge, while also working to provide more light along the tennis court path leading up to the bridge.
Sevigny was also involved in the recent installations of LED light bulbs on the bridge leading to Owl Stadium.
According to Sevigny, “The end result [of the new LED installation] was much better quality light – and we’re using roughly 25 percent of the power that we were using before.”
Sevigny, who said he played a role in “Creative Problem Solving,” when looking into and installing the solar panel light, said, “I think it [the solar light installation] shows one of many ways that the campus as a whole really takes the idea of sustainability seriously. It shows initiative.”
Pam Bump can be contacted at