LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) – Utah State University has swapped out more than 142,000 light bulbs, replacing old, high-energy bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs across USU campuses statewide.

The effort comes as a part of a goal of net carbon neutrality by 2050.

The project reached 95% completion in 2021, according to the recently released greenhouse gas inventory, helping to realize a savings of nearly 6 million kilowatt hours and a carbon emission reduction of 3,500 metric tons annually.

USU has also showed major progress in carbon reductions, with emissions falling by 15.5% in 2021.

Alexi Lamm, sustainability program manager for Utah State University, cites COVID-19’s effects on the effort to be a silver lining of the pandemic. She calls the trend toward online meetings “a net benefit for the environment.”

She adds, “If you have an out-of-state meeting, perhaps be thoughtful about combining trips to reduce travel, or accomplishing the same tasks online.”

Lamm also notes that another big accomplishment and a push toward campus carbon neutrality is the installation of a 158-kilowatt solar panel array, funded through the president’s office.

The solar panel, which is mounted on Gateway Parking Terrace, increases USU’s solar capacity by over 50% and provides enough energy to power 26 homes, avoiding 151 metric tons of carbon each year.

“It’s been impressive to see the commitment the university has to redefining the way our community uses energy resources,” said Chris Luecke, Dean of the Quinney College of Natural Resources.

USU’s sustainability and energy management programs are developing an informational carbon-cost calculator, a tool for the greenhouse gas inventory, that will aid the university in making smart purchases, such as cars and equipment.

“We’re committed every year to taking practical and innovative steps toward reducing our emissions,” Lamm said. “This greenhouse gas inventory is one way to hold the institution accountable to the goals we’ve set for ourselves.”