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Wheeling University Engineering Department Project Cutting Energy Cost and Providing Students a Valuable Learning Experience

Installation of new high efficiency LED lights inside Wheeling University’s McDonough Center is cutting energy costs while increasing the lumens inside the athletic complex.

For the last five years, Engineering Science students under the direction of Bob Yahn, assistant professor of Engineering, have replaced more than 100 florescent lights with LED fixtures inside the University’s facility. 

“By installing the LED fixtures, several areas inside McDonough are much brighter, and our tracking shows we’ve reduced our electricity usage. By reducing peak power and kilowatt usage we have cut our energy bill, saving nearly $2,000 a month,” Yahn explained. 

Over the course of a year, Yahn said the high energy lighting is saving the University about $24,000. 

Not only has this project had a positive impact on the University electric bill, Yahn noted, it’s providing Engineering students valuable hands-on training. “The students are installing the new fixtures, as well as analyzing and tracking electric usage inside the building. This project, as well as internships, provide the students with real-world learning experiences, which will make them more marketable to companies when they are seeking employment following graduation.”

To date, Yahn and his students have upgraded the lighting in the McDonough Center lobby, first floor athletic administrative offices, the auxiliary gym and the performance gym. Yahn said the lights in the performance gym can be dimmed, allowing for special lighting effects to be incorporated into University events. 

“I am grateful to Professor Yahn for this project and seeing the real-world work experience that this provides our students. Their work not only broadens our students’ skillset, it is having a positive impact on the University’s energy cost. Bob is just one example of how the faculty at Wheeling University incorporate innovative learning experiences into their programs’ curriculum,” said Ginny R. Favede, president of Wheeling University. 

Wheeling University’s Engineering Science program offers students the best of two worlds – liberal arts and technology. The engineering science program provides students a rigorous and challenging curriculum, which prepares them for successful careers in engineering. Today, engineers are expected to be professionally competent, as well as aware of the ethical dimension of their work and its impact on the quality of human life. The combination of a strong scientific background with a liberal arts core, positions Wheeling’s graduates for a competitive edge to advance in their careers. Structured around electrical, industrial and mechanical engineering topics, the curriculum combines mathematics and sciences with fundamental engineering courses that stress analytical study with hands-on laboratory work. The curriculum is designed to allow students to seek professional licensure while working as engineers or to enter graduate study in a variety of engineering fields.