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Illuminating conservation efforts

When the lights were officially switched on at the inauguration of the UCLA La Kretz Center Field Station on Jan. 22nd, visitors touring the facility were immersed in an environmentally-conscious glow. Los Angeles-based lighting company Nularis provided the energy efficient technology.

Situated high in picturesque mountains near Malibu, the Field Station will support research on the conservation of California’s biodiversity and ecosystems. The station will facilitate this work by providing short and long-term accommodations for field researchers, a venue for meetings, seminars, and small classes, office space, and storage areas for gear and equipment.

Nularis became involved with UCLA through the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability’s Corporate Partners Program. This initiative enables businesses to interact with university faculty, researchers, students, and other firms to explore opportunities in environment and sustainability best practices, corporate environmental performance, and eco-marketing strategy.

The seventy-five LEDs installed at the station are an improvement over regular compact fluorescent lights. LEDS are better in terms of longevity, efficiency, impact on the environment, and color temperature. They require a 1/5 of the electricity of a regular incandescent bulb, do not contain harmful toxins like mercury, are recyclable, and provide a warm white light unlike fluorescent bulbs.

Nularis CEO Jonathan Fram said, “Nularis is delighted to be a sponsor of the field station. Our team believes that the dramatic energy savings that result from embracing LED can make a significant overall reduction in the power generation required to produce electricity.”

He continued,  “Users often achieve more than a 50% reduction in their overall power needs—and much of that reduction in traditionally generated electric power results in significantly lower consumption of CO2 emitting coal, natural gas, and other non-renewable sources.”

La Kretz Center Executive Director Felicia Federico commented on the challenge to make the space green inside and out. “As we planned the building renovation, these issues were forefront in our minds for three reasons:  consistency with our principles, as we are committed to maintaining a small energy footprint,  improved affordability and cost savings we could pass on to our researchers, and lastly, creating a model others can look to for inspiration and duplication.”

Professor Brad Shaffer, UCLA La Kretz Center faculty director, agreed, “Choosing a low-power consumption alternative like LED lighting sends a strong message of environmental concern and stewardship to our faculty, students, agency visitors, and collaborators.”

Additional eco-friendly features at the Field Station include photovoltaic solar panels on the roof and native plant gardens. It is hoped this natural and sustainable setting will inspire relevant, effective, and meaningful science—real change that will address critical conservation challenges.