• The Great Dome of Building 10 will once again be lit at night, thanks to an anonymous donor's gift of a high-efficiency lighting scheme and a state grant for a new solar array.

    Photo / Cheryl Vossmer

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Solar power helps rekindle Great Dome lighting tradition


A new lighting scheme will turn the iconic Great Dome of Building 10 into a "nighttime beacon."

Using the same amount of electricity needed to run two hair dryers, a total of 12 new fixtures will illuminate the dome, the Roman numerals that spell out 1916 (the year the building opened) and the limestone façade of Building 10.

MIT President Susan Hockfield will flip the switch on the new lighting at a June 9 ceremony at 10:30 p.m. The event, which comes at the conclusion of a full day of Tech Day activities that will bring 3,300 alumni and alumnae to the campus, will take place in Killian Court. All members of the MIT community are invited to attend the lighting ceremony.

The new lighting system incorporates energy-saving light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures and is made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor. The efficient new system will replace now-defunct fixtures and tree-mounted lights.

The donor has also provided funding for a new 40-kilowatt photovoltaic array that will connect to MIT's electrical grid and provide 10 times more power than the dome lighting will use, according to the chief engineer on the project. The purchase of this solar panel array has also received support from a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

"Our stated goal for this project was to achieve an energy-neutral balance," said Ronald J. Adams, senior electrical engineer in the Department of Facilities. "Thanks to the donor and the grant, we have achieved that. In fact, we have far exceeded our goal."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 6, 2007 (download PDF).


Topics: Campus buildings and architecture

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