Howard University’s Sustainability Office Announces Exterior LED Lighting Project Nears Completion


LED Lights are not only Sustainable, they also support Campus Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 12, 2017) - Howard University’s Office of Sustainability is proud to announce the completion of an exterior LED retrofit project in the heart of the University’s campus. The new installations, which boost lighting levels for example around the clock tower, walkway paths, the upper Quad and parking lots increase energy efficiency, decrease maintenance costs, and improve campus safety. The effort comes as the University seeks ways to reduce energy costs, beautify its campus and reduce its overall footprint. “LED lighting will allow Howard University to maximize our energy efficiency goals and provide superior light quality for our students and faculty,” says Alfonzye Chisholm, Director of Sustainability for Facilities Management at Howard University.

“This project will allow Howard an opportunity to continue to drive a culture of sustainability and most importantly create an environment that enhances our commitment to campus safety for the University’s primary stakeholders—our students, faculty, staff, and alumni,” says President Frederick. “I look forward to on-going engagement between our community partners and Howard University to ensure safety on our campus and within the surrounding community.”

The project was supported by funding from the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU), which aims to create brighter energy and economic futures for residents, business and organizations in the District. The strong partnership between the DCSEU and Howard University goes back five years. Since then, several projects reducing gas and electricity consumption have been completed throughout multiple buildings on campus. These energy savings have resulted in more than $10.5 million in lifetime cost savings and prevented the lifetime emissions of 70,000 tons of CO2. This is the equivalent of Co2 produced when generating electricity for more than 10,000 homes for one year. “Without the DCSEU’s support we would not have been able to complete all these sustainability projects,” says Chisholm.

Bright light improves the sense of security by allowing students, staff, and visitors to better see their environment while walking through campus at night. At the beginning of the project, the completing contractor GB Energie LED, an African-American, woman-owned business committed to sourcing sustainable energy solutions, and the DCSEU participated in a walkthrough with the Director of Campus Security. They identified poorly or dimly lit areas on campus, including parking lots and sidewalks, where safety could be compromised. “Adequate exterior lighting is a major concern for addressing campus community safety on any campus. The LED exterior lighting project is a proactive measure to reduce the opportunity of crime around our campuses,” says Alonzo Joy, Campus Police Chief. “The plan has greatly illuminated various areas, which reduces the likelihood of unwanted individuals from lurking in wait without being detected. This new lighting also elevates the quality of our students’ after-hours experience. In addition, the plan to use LED is a perfect match for our video surveillance system.”  

“As stewards of this historic institution, we continuously evaluate our operational efficiencies,” says Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tashni Dubroy. “I am pleased that our five-year collaboration with the DCSEU has resulted in improved campus safety and energy efficiency through improvements in energy utilization and installment of cost efficient lighting that will ultimately improve the campus experience for our students, faculty, and staff.”

While greening Howard University’s campus, the Office of Sustainability also aims to include its students and the community in the process. “I have noticed a major change in the lighting around campus! Areas like the main yard are easier to navigate and campus feels safer overall,” says Kuishon Brown, Mechanical Engineering Student. In addition, the neighbors were involved in the process to make sure that the crisp and bright lighting does not disturb the community environment. “The DCSEU is proud to work with Howard and GB Energie to make this project possible through DCSEU rebates and technical assistance. These energy-saving LEDs will not only reduce costs, but also provide great multiplier effects for the university and surrounding community,” says Ted Trabue, Managing Director of the DCSEU.

Lighting represents upwards of 40% of the $7 billion annual energy and utility expenses for higher education, according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report. For many universities, energy expenses represent the second largest spending category, right after personnel. Ramping up energy-efficiency and reducing energy costs are necessary means to slow down tuition increases and create opportunities to fund new educational programs. The LED retrofit project is expected to reduce lighting energy use by more than 50%, while improving light output levels considerably.

 “We are proud to work with the DCSEU and an academic institution such as Howard University, providing them with leading LED solutions to create a more energy-efficient, safe, and productive learning environment for its students and faculty,” said Dr. Gloria B. Herndon, CEO of GB Energie. “Selection by Howard University demonstrates the confidence in our company’s dedication to delivering quality service at every point in a project for the both primary and higher education.”

For media inquires, contact Brittany Bell Surratt,


About Howard University’s Office of Sustainability

The Office of Sustainability strives for the inclusion of Howard University among the top green Institutions of Higher Education in the country. This will be accomplished by identifying and promoting the use of sustainable principles, policies and practices that will reduce the carbon footprint of the University while supporting the University’s mission to provide an exceptional living and learning environment for its students and the entire Howard University Community. The Office has also worked with the DCSEU to educate and train externs who participate in the DCSEU’s workforce development program.

About the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU)

The District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) helps DC residents and businesses use less energy and save money. Since 2011, under contract to the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), the DCSEU has delivered financial incentives, technical assistance, and information to tens of thousands of District residents and businesses, helping them to save millions of dollars on their energy costs. Our work is building a brighter economic, environmental, and energy future for the District. For more information, visit

About GB Energie LED LLC

GB Energie LED is an African-American, woman-owned business (WBENC Certified) committed to sourcing sustainable energy solutions worldwide. With both national and international scope, GB Energie LED is positioned as a leading force for the implementation of high-quality LED lighting solutions. GB Energie LED provides solutions in several sectors such as education, government, institutional, hospitality, healthcare, retail, commercial and industrial. GB Energie LED is committed to giving back to communities that it serves and those in need. Social give-back programs in education, technical training, healthcare and civic projects are just a few areas GB Energie LED champions together with its collateral partners.