New light bulbs will save the College $21,000 in energy costs each year. 

Thanks in part to Jesse Brill ’64, Amherst’s outdoor lights have been replaced by more efficient and eco- friendly LEDs. Installed last year, the bulbs will save the College both energy and resources.

Brill funded the project as a way to mark his 50th reunion, but he describes the idea behind the donation as a group effort.

“The class of 1964 had a conversation about the legacy our class could provide Amherst. Vince Simmon ’64 pointed out that LED lights could help the college make its money back easily,” said Brill.

“A lightbulb went off in my head and I decided I was going to pay for the LEDs.” The facilities department began the project in spring 2014. They met with College police to decide on a bulb with the proper color, rendition and wattage for safe lighting.


The LED project shows how ecological sustainability can intersect with financial sustainability, said James Brassord.

“The LED project is a great demonstration of how ecological sustainability can intersect with financial sustainability. It’s reflective of our ethos and initiatives over the past 10 years,” said James Brassord, chief of campus operations.

Since then, the College has replaced 458 high-pressure sodium lights, which have a much shorter lifespan, with LEDs. The new bulbs will save $21,000 in energy costs annually, as well as saving on installation and re- placement costs.

Brill said he is not done improving Amherst’s carbon footprint and has plans for other projects. Next up: replacing all fluorescent lighting with LEDs. Yet, despite the changing campus landscape over the past 50 years, what drew Brill to Amherst remains unchanged: “I have watched the development of campus over time. It still feels like the idyllic college I went to when I was a naïve kid in the ’60s.”