New LED lighting in Durham Hall is expected to save the university $135,000 in annual energy and maintenance costs.

About 1,800 older lighting fixtures in Durham Hall were replaced or retrofitted with new LED fixtures as part of a retrofitting project under the Five-Year Energy Action Plan, an Office of Energy Management and Facilities Department initiative to boost energy conservation in the 50 most energy-intensive buildings on the main Blacksburg campus.

The four-month lighting project was completed in November 2018. The new energy-efficient lighting will pay for itself within three years. A similar lighting project in Whittemore Hall is currently underway.

Durham Hall project highlights include:

  • 1,800 lighting fixtures replaced with LED;
  • $135,000 annual energy and maintenance cost savings (expected);
  • 1,213,980 pounds reduced greenhouse gas emissions per year (expected);
  • 75 percent reduction in the initial lighting load in the building; and
  • Improved interior and exterior illumination that will enhance learning and safety.


Thousands of old lamps and ballasts were detached from the old fixtures and recycled according to university hazardous waste management guidelines. The scrap metal from the old fixtures was recycled, reducing the amount of solid waste sent to the landfill and carbon emissions that would have been created by its disposal.

“Not only is the Durham Hall lighting project producing immediate energy savings, it is helping the university achieve its overarching energy conservation and sustainability goals outlined in the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment,” said Ruben Avagyan, campus energy manager.

The Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment (VTCAC) approved in 2009 and reaffirmed in 2013, serves as a cornerstone for guiding the university toward a greener, more sustainable future. It touches on all aspects of university sustainability, including campus operations, facilities, curriculum, and research. The VTAC commits Virginia Tech to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and to improving energy efficiency where and whenever possible in campus buildings.

Durham Hall houses laboratories, offices, and classrooms for numerous departments within in the College of Engineering, including the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Durham Hall LED Lighting Upgrades