Project Overview

Across Harvard, upgrading lighting fixtures to LED technology has demonstrated significant reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increased energy savings while standardizing lighting quality throughout campus. The Athletics Department’s Operations Team recently implemented four such projects, three of which were funded by the Harvard Green Revolving Fund. In addition to the environmental and financial benefits of these projects, they were planned with the goal of improving the working environment for both coaches and athletes, as well as the spectator experience. This case study includes the three Green Revolving Fund-funded LED lighting projects—Lavietes Pavilion, Bright Hockey Arena, and Palmer Dixon Centeras well as Gordon Track.

Project Goals

  • Increase energy efficiency
  • Reduce GHG emissions
  • Increase maintenance savings
  • Standardize lighting throughout the buildings
  • Improve lighting quality for coaches, athletes and spectators


Palmer Dixon

  • Estimated Annual Electricity Savings: $6,181.80
  • Estimated Electricity Saved: 41,212 kWh
  • Anticipated GHG Reduction: 16 MTCDE

Bright Hockey Arena

  • Estimated Annual Electricity Savings: $8,817.15
  • Estimated Electricity Saved: 58,781 kWh
  • Anticipated GHG Reduction: 23 MTCDE

Lavietes Pavilion

  • Estimated Annual Electricity Savings: $9,013.05
  • Estimated Electricity Saved: 60,087 kWh
  • Anticipated GHG Reduction: 27 MTCDE

Gordon Track

  • Estimated Annual Electricity Savings: $14,441.55
  • Estimated Electricity Saved: 96,277 kWh
  • Anticipated GHG Reduction: 38 MTCDE

Pre-Project Considerations

Coaches at facilities were voicing concern that inconsistent lighting was resulting in poorer performances by the players. Bright, consistent lighting on a basketball court, hockey arena,or track can greatly improve the quality of the game not only for the players, but for spectators as well.  Approximately ten years ago, throughout Athletics’ facilities, CFL fixtures were installed to replace metal Halides—an improvement at the time. As the CFLs reached the end of their life expectancy, Jason Waldron, Assistant Manager of Operations of the Athletics Department, explored LEDs as a solution to addressing their lighting needs. With clear environmental benefits, increased life expectancy and reduced operating and maintenance costs when compared to CFLs, LEDs were determined to be a good fit for the Athletics facilities.

The Project Process

  • Ensured all specified LED fixtures were appropriate for locations
  • Foot Candle Test used to determine brightness and consistency of LED lights
    • This test is used to express the illumination of light in units (Fc  Meter)
  • Integrated feedback from stakeholders

Lessons Learned

While improved lighting quality through the use of LED lighting technology was a major goal of the project, it was also crucial to choose the right LED lights for the facilities based on use. After installation, the project team learned that the bright lights installed in the Bright Hockey Arena, which worked perfectly in that environment, caused reflective glares off the court in the Lavietes Pavilion. The facilities team solved this problem by installing frosted coatings to the LED lights, which have received positive reviews from coaches, players, and spectators.

Contact Information:

Jennifer Stacy
Sustainability Manager
Office for Sustainability
46 Blackstone Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

Office Phone: 617-496-1278