Pilot Project - LED Lighting in the Harvard Quad

by Seth B.

Help Harvard go green and improve lighting quality by helping in the replacement of the over 200 lights in the Harvard Quad with LEDs

Launched: Apr 4, 2013
Funding ends: May 31, 2013


The Harvard Radcliffe Quad has 206 outdoor lighting units. These are currently incandescent lights. Typically, outdoor incadescent lighting uses at least 100 watts or more. A standard 198 watt-metal halide light, such as those used on certain lighting fixtures on the Harvard campus, consume almost 1 MWh of energy a year. LED lights are up to 80% more effcient, and since they do not use dangerous chemicals like mercury , that makes them safer than traditional lights and even Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs). Finally, LEDs last 20 years, 4 times longer than any of the alternatives, reducing maintenance and labor costs and the chance that a light will out and make an area unsafe for students.

But progress comes at a cost. The cost of replacing all 200+ lights in the Harvard Quad is actually quite large because the fixtures have to be changed with the lights to allow for LEDs. The estimate comes out to $80,000 after the NSTAR (local utility) rebate. Its also very time-consuming for the staff. Unfortunately, while the climate is warming and Boston risks worse and worse storms, should we be using incandescent lights in our most famous areas? Harvard wants to change and there is a payback at the end, but our help here will be a strong symbolic show of support and help them move forward. We want to help fund the replacement cost for approximately 2 lights, or 1% of the project, for $800 (sorry, the video was incorrect in saying $1,200).

The Energy Team at Harvard is really excited to be debuting this opportunity on Project GreenCampus. Sam Houston, one of its members and a member of the Harvard Office of Sustainability, joined the team after graduating from Harvard College and helped us champion this project. They are excited to know that their work is appreciated by alumni, students, and all parts of the Harvard community. The Assistant Dean of Campus Design has offered to help design some of the the rendered images we’re offering as rewards.
Show them your support! Even $1 makes a difference.

Risks and challenges

The team is going forward and has estimates, but this project is still in development. The goal is to start work in the summer. Throughout this time there will permitting and other regulatory concerns, and as you can see from the video, many of the lights that currently have been installed are different types and colors. However, the Harvard Energy Team and Office of Sustainability has tackled these challenges before. However, the scope of the project, and where its being done make it more challenging but more important.

Questions or Comments?




pledged of $800 goal

1 year

to go

For every Like or Tweet, the Project GreenCampus board of directors will donate $1 to this project.


This is only a draft that the creator has chosen to share.

by Seth B.

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Created 2 projects · 2 backed

If you pledged $5 or more

10 backers

The knowledge that you donated to something actionable and green at Harvard, and a personal thank you e-mail written by the students and staff behind the project.

Estimated delivery: August 2013

If you pledged $25 or more

6 backers

A hand-written thank you card from the students and staff supporters of the project, and a photo-quality image of a Harvard Quad scene that can be framed (the image will have at least one lamp post from the Quad in it).

Estimated delivery: August 2013

If you pledged $75 or more

4 backers

A thank you card like the one described above, and a large panoramic photo-quality printing of the Quad, digitally rendered by the Planning Team to show the Quad with the new LED lighting. It will also be signed by the students and staff behind the project. We’ll also mail with it a printout of the Quad with the current lighting scheme and a coupon for a frame to be mailed to your house. Try getting this for cheaper at the Harvard Coop!

Estimated delivery: August 2013

If you pledged $400 or more

0 backers

Thank you for supporting the average cost of helping install an LED on one whole light! We can offer you the panoramic picture, the card, and a tour by a student and/or team member from the Office of Sustainability or Energy group of the school and it’s sustainability improvements. It is a great must-have for your next visit to campus. We can support 1 offer for this reward.

Estimated delivery: August 2013