Walnut Hill Theatre Lighting

Walnut Hill School for the Arts


Independent School for the Arts Expresses Sustainability Through Campus-wide Audit

Melissa Joyce, director of facilities and operations at Walnut Hill School for the Arts has always had a passion for sustainability. Her background (she earned an MBA and a Masters in Environmental Science) and priorities meld well with the Natick, Mass.-based independent school. “We try here,” she explains. “We have solar panels, organics and composting in our food service, our dining hall is environmentally minded.” But doing good for its own sake isn’t always enough. As Joyce asserts, “My passion is to find the business case in sustainability.”

Apollo Lighting partnered with the prestigious New England Preparatory School to audit the entire campus, ultimately helping cut energy expenses by 50%.


With a vast campus and multiple departments, Walnut Hill wanted to enact their values of sustainability and environmental stewardship. But the variety of types of lighting and the accessibility requirements complicated their efforts.

With a campus boasting historic structures some over a century old, Walnut Hill posed unique challenges. “We had some electrical issues because some of our buildings were so old,” recalls Joyce, “but everyone coordinated.”

Specific requirements for certain spaces also proved tricky. For example, they opted for the unusual 4k kelvin temperature bulbs in the sports fields since the regular 3k wasn’t bright enough, but again, Apollo “worked with us to get those fixtures in.”


“Matt’s been doing this for a long time,” laughs Joyce. She worked closely with Matt Goetz with the audit, the recommendations and the order. The products were delivered directly to Walnut Hill. “It was pretty impressive,” she says of his expertise. “He would be rattling off numbers for products.”

As the sustainability experts, Apollo Lighting knew where the least out-of-pocket expense would make the biggest impact. Their recommendations included updating 90% of the fixtures with LED cans or ballasts from compact fluorescent and incandescent bulbs.


The campus-wide audit and revamp was able to reduce energy costs by 50% with a minimum upfront charge by harnessing rebate opportunities and energy efficient systems. Now the spotlight is on Walnut Hill’s talented students, not on wasted energy.

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Apollo was knowledgeable considering our special requirements. They had timely delivery and kept me educated throughout the process. —Melissa Joyce , Director of Facilities and Operations, Walnut Hill School for the Arts