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Light Emitting Diode (LED) Swap

In 1990, Tufts was the first university to sign the EPA Green Lights pledge, a promise to upgrade lighting in 90% of our floor space. This program focused on institutional lighting (overheads and permanent fixtures). Learn more about the EPA Green Light Program and Lighting Upgrades & Motion Sensors.

What about the other lights on campus, though: desk lamps, floor lamps, wall sconces, and chandeliers? The Tufts Climate Initiative (now the Tufts Office of Sustainability) took a look at these lights and found a great opportunity to make a significant reduction in the University’s emissions.

Since the inception of the program, Tufts has distributed over 4000 compact fluorescent lightbulbs to students, staff and faculty.

If you would like to receive a free LED, bring an incandescent or CFL bulb (from campus) to swap to the Office of Sustainability, located in the same space as the Tufts Institute of the Environment in the back of Miller Hall (Tufts community members only).


More Information

Why Do It?
Important Things To Know About LEDs

How to Buy LEDs for Your Home

Learn More About the Environmental Impacts of Electricity.

Why Do It?

Replacing energy-hogging incandescents and CFLs with energy-saving LEDs is a simple, effective way to slow the rate of global climate change, increase energy efficiency, and save Tufts’ money. There are a lot of reasons this is a good idea.

It’s Good for the Environment.

Most electricity used for lighting is generated by coal, oil, and natural gas power plants (more about electricity). These power plants pollute the atmosphere and emit CO2, which causes global climate change. Each LED that replaces an incandescent bulb can cut CO2 emissions by 4,050 pounds each year and each LED that replaces a CFL bulb can cut CO2 emissions by 600 pounds each year. In addition, LED light bulbs last much longer than CFLs, leading fewer lightbulbs to end up in landfills.

It’s Economical.

One LED uses 43% of the energy of a CFL bulb and lasts 6.25 times as long. This savings averages $43.80 per year from lower electricity bills and less frequent replacement costs. And, the Office of Sustainability will provide you with an LED for free (if it’s replacing a bulb used on campus)!

It’s Efficient

LED bulbs are not sensitive to low temperatures, humidity, are very durable, create a minimal amount of heat, don’t take time to warm up, and don’t have a fire risk which can’t be said for CFL bulbs.

It’s Easy.

LEDs come in many sizes, shapes, and shades, and it’s easy to find one that works perfectly for your lamp. Older fluorescent bulbs had a reputation for bad lighting quality and noise, which is no longer a concern for new LED technology.

Important things to know about LEDs

1. LEDs reach their full brightness as soon as they are turned on.

2. LEDs have wide dimmer compatibility. Some even come with built in dimming and some you can dim with a dimmer switch.

3. Unlike CFLs, LEDs do not contain mercury, and have a smaller environmental impact than incandescent bulbs according to an Energy Department study. At Tufts, you can recycle your bulbs in our e-waste bins. Find more information from Facilities Services – Recycling & Waste Management website.

Questions? Call the Office of Sustainability at 617-627-5517 or e-mail us at

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How To Buy LED Bulbs

Electric utilities often offer rebates on LEDs. Check with your local utility to determine your eligibility.

There are three ways to buy LEDs:

1. At your local hardware store or Home Depot.
You may receive rebate coupon(s). (You might want to call ahead as some hardware stores may not have the coupons in stores or have reduced prices to account for a rebate.)

2. On the Web.
Both sites will give you the utility discounts.

3. Via mail order.
The utilities produce a catalogue with energy efficient lighting products (bulbs and fixtures). Catalogues can be ordered by calling 1-800-473-9150.