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Phytotron Growth Chambers Cycloptics™ Lighting Retrofit

Growth Chamber – Cycloptics

Eight reach-in type growth chambers in the Phytotron had been operating since the 1980’s with luminaires consisting  of (8) 400W metal halide lamps and (6) 60W incandescent lamps.

Retrofitting the reach-in (R) chambers with a more energy efficient lighting system was investigated by the Phytotron staff.  The goal was to find a lighting design that would supply the same light level and quality as the old luminaires with enough energy savings to make the retrofit cost a feasible investment.

Working with Cycloptics™ Technologies LLC, a luminaire was designed consisting of  (4) Philips Elite Agro™  315W ceramic metal halide lamps operating with Cycloptics™ All-Bright™ reflectors.

The payback period for the investment in retrofitting the chambers was estimated to be 16.5 months (1.37 years).

With such a short payback period all eight of the Phytotron R Chambers were retrofitted with the more efficient Cycloptics™ lighting system.


Stirling Freezer Project

Sterling Freezer

Green Labs at Duke is working with the Dean of Arts and Sciences to encourage the purchase of Stirling Ultracold Freezers for A&S labs. A Green Labs/FMD study has shown Stirling freezers to consume roughly half the electricity of the control freezer and to also generate less heat. The Dean will contribute $3000 toward the cost of a freezer.

Magwene Lab Strikes Gold!

Associate Professor Paul Magwene’s lab, located in the French Family Science Building is the first lab at Duke University to achieve Green Lab Certification and they did it in fine style.  Paul and company are the proud owners of Gold status!

Discussion Page

Something about sustainable labs on your mind?  Bring it up here!

Styrofoam Recycling

Styrofoam recycling bin in French Family Science Center

Labs in the French Family Science Center and the Biological Sciences Building are recycling #6 EPS (expanded polystyrene or Styrofoam) shipping containers and packaging materials.  What began with a few labs has now spread across two buildings.  The Department of Biology has contracted with Shimar Recycling to pick up the material and Arts and Sciences Facilities provided the collection bins. Approximately 2 cubic yards per week are being diverted from the waste stream.

Collection bins are currently located in BioSci on the 2nd floor near the elevator, French on the 4th floor on the end closest to Gross Chem and French 3211.


LED Grow Lights

Amy Eddings takes light intensity readings of LED array

The U.S. Congress has mandated energy efficiency standards for incandescent and fluorescent lamps.  The Department of Energy has ordered the phase out of incandescent lamps and the T12 type fluorescent lamps commonly used in plant growth chambers.

In order to comply with the regulations and to help meet Duke University’s carbon neutrality commitment, the Phytotron, in collaboration with Environmental Growth Chambers (EGC), has undertaken an investigation of the use of light-emitting diodes (LED) in growth chambers.

The newer LED light sources may produce sufficient light for plant growth, and have better power conversion efficiencies than the early model LEDs.  LED lights also produce much less radiant heat than incandescent and fluorescent lamps.  The combined energy savings in electrical power and less radiant heat may be substantial.

In our study we are growing several plant species under the LED lights, and measuring the energy use and heat load of the LED lights vs. the conventional fluorescent lamps.  We have received a third generation LED light source engineered by EGC, and in January 2012 will begin growing plants under this newest version.

Green Lab Certification

The Duke Green Lab Certification Program is intended to educate research and teaching lab personnel about sustainable laboratory practices and to recognize those that put the practices into action.  Three levels of achievement are possible  – Bronze, Silver and Gold, symbolizing increasing levels of accomplishment.  You can find information on the certification program at Sustainable Duke by following this link.