By Tyler Thayer, Sustainability Communications and Outreach Intern


Saving energy - it’s good for the environment and for our wallets. That’s why the UC system has launched the Million LED Challenge, an initiative to make LED light bulbs more affordable for students, staff, faculty, alumni, and retirees! With the goal of replacing 1 million traditional bulbs with more energy efficient LED bulbs, UC is working towards its goal of achieving operational carbon neutrality by 2025, while also helping to reduce Californian’s carbon footprint.

About the Challenge

This challenge, spearheaded by UC in

collaboration with the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, and Department of General Services,

was inspired by research conducted by the

California Lighting Technology Center

at UC Davis. This statewide effort aims to provide high quality, high efficacy light sources for prices nearly 46% less than the average online cost. In addition to providing the UC community with affordable bulbs, the program is also working closely with employees of campus buildings to ensure bulbs are used campus-wide.

All bulbs included in the community buy program were evaluated and selected bulbs based on the  

Voluntary California Quality LED Lamp Specification

performance criteria set forth by

California Energy Commission in collaboration with the University of California Davis’

California Lighting Technology Center

. These criteria will serve as the performance benchmark for all future light source purchases.

And to make the program as user-friendly as possible, the website contains educational materials to inform purchase choices. Each type of bulb is accompanied by a suggestion of specific appliances it works best for as well as the estimated amount of money saved in energy savings. “Our goal was to take the guesswork and confusion out of the process and ensure that everyone gets a great light at a great price,” said Michael Siminovitch, director of the UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center.

To learn more about the challenge, visit the


or contact


The blue LED was created through the research of the Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center here at UC Santa Barbara, that advance paved the way for the white LED.