Solar Powered Emergency Lights for Campus Safety

1) Sustainability Problem: Safety

Purdue University has taken an environmentally friendly approach to safety by making the “blue light” Emergency Telephone System (ETS) in the Waldron Street area of campus powered by the sun. Before the installation of this technology, the call boxes in the Waldron area were not illuminated. Most call boxes on campus draw power from neighboring buildings owned by the University. However, this was not an option along Waldron Street because the surrounding buildings are privately owned. This solar powered approach has been able to enhance the safety on campus while also utilizing alternative energy supply.

2) Summary

  • Tom Barbour, the Electronic Technician for Operations and Maintenance at Purdue University, believed it was important to find a way to equip all call boxes on campus with functional safety lights.
  • After trying a variety of methods to make the lights in the Walden area functional, solar power was determined to be a viable alternative.
  • Installing solar powered blue lights on the ETS phones in the Walden area is an effective emergency solution that helps to raise the level of safety on campus.
  • Solar powered blue lights are also cost effective, as the local police department previously saved energy costs by installing energy efficient lighting in the police dispatch center.

3) Stakeholders

  • Students
  • Faculty
  • Community Members
  • Facilities Management
  • Local Police
  • University Administrators

4) Deployment

  1. Identify ETS phones that are not currently illuminated, or otherwise costly to illuminate, on campus.
  2. Install solar panels on the under-illuminated ETS phones.
  3. Provide enhanced campus safety by providing illuminated spaces where emergency calls can be made while also reducing energy costs.


Solar-powered emergency light provides sustainable safety. Purdue Today. Purdue University. September 26, 2011. Web Accessed October 19, 2017.


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