Building Controls, Energy Management and Lighting, Sustainability/Business Continuity

DOE Honors Organizations for ‘Exemplary’ Commercial Lighting Projects

Need inspiration for lighting upgrades at your facility? The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently highlighted some prime examples.

The DOE’s 2023 Integrated Lighting Campaign (ILC) recognized 11 organizations for exemplary commitment to energy efficiency and environmental responsibility in their buildings. The campaign also honored three other organizations for exhibiting exemplary support and advocacy for this work.

Courtesy: ILC

Partners were recognized on August 5 at the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) annual conference. Now in its third year, the ILC is part of the DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative and designed to demonstrate that integrated lighting systems enable deeper energy savings in buildings and create an enhanced user and occupant experience. In 2023, the ILC added new categories that highlight the potential of novel lighting technologies to contribute to energy equity, sustainability, and indoor air quality in commercial and public buildings.

“The Integrated Lighting Campaign is designed to recognize leadership in the use of advanced lighting solutions that contribute to our nation’s energy and decarbonization goals,” said Mandy Mahoney, DOE Building Technologies Office director. “I am inspired by these projects and partners, and the example they set for creating energy savings, energy justice, and healthier, more comfortable buildings.”

11 Recognized Participants

Morenci Area Schools in Morenci, Michigan: Advanced Use of Sensors and Controls in Lighting category.

The school district invested $1.4 million in energy system improvements in its buildings. Improvements include lighting controls, LED lighting upgrades, new building automation controls, and an energy management system. The upgrades are expected to save more than $1 million in energy and operational costs and nearly 490,000 kWh over 10 years. The schools’ lighting upgrades have noticeably improved the overall lighting experience for visitors, providing consistent, even, and brighter illumination, receiving positive feedback from staff, and offering increased safety, improved athletic facilities, and enhanced maintenance efficiencies.

Freeform in Boise, Idaho: Advanced Lighting Solutions for Small Projects or Buildings and Sustainability in Lighting categories.

The project involved a comprehensive redesign of the lighting system at Freeform’s Boise office, including LED fixtures/retrofit kits, luminaire-level lighting controls, motion and photocell sensors, a remote access bridge, switches, and individual occupant switches. Old lighting materials were recycled and daylight monitoring and sensing was incorporated to balance brightness and maximize automatic and natural lighting adjustment. The project resulted in a 40% reduction in fixture count and significant energy savings, in addition to improved lighting uniformity, customization, remote control, and automation capabilities.

The City of Berkeley Public Safety Building in Berkeley, California: Innovative Maintenance, Operation, and Financing Service Models category.

The project included replacing fluorescent lighting with LED and adding lighting controls and vacancy sensors. The combined efforts resulted in an annual energy savings of 33%, equivalent to 336,573 kWh, and the implementation costs were fully covered by incentives and grants. The project also used on-bill financing, which is a zero-interest loan that pays the contractor up front, and the customer pays the loan back on their monthly energy bill. The monthly loan payment is equal to, or less than, the monthly energy costs saved by the retrofit. 

The State of Michigan’s General Service Building in Dimondale, Michigan: Innovative Maintenance, Operation, and Financing Service Models category.

The project involved replacing 900 linear fluorescent lamps with 200 18-inch square LED luminaires. The new smart lighting system with controls reduces lighting power by over 90% when compared with the previous fluorescent setup, while also generating significant maintenance savings. The control system allows for mobile phone interfacing, offering features such as occupancy sensing, daylight harvesting, and energy monitoring. The implementation resulted in a $110,000 rebate from Consumers Energy. What is exemplary about this project is the use of the state’s revolving fund, which uses energy savings from existing energy upgrades to fund future energy-efficiency projects.

Two Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities in Minnesota: Energy Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion category.

The Jerry Gamble and Southside Village clubs sought to upgrade their interior and exterior lighting to address poor light levels, maintenance costs, safety concerns, and an unwelcoming atmosphere. With grants and rebates covering half of the project costs, the clubs achieved improved lighting quality and a better environment for children to learn and feel safe. The project is expected to create an annual savings of $7,000, which will be reallocated for use among the clubs, and a simple payback of approximately seven years.

Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas: Advanced Use of Sensors and Controls in Lighting category.

The university deployed an energy savings program at the university’s Evans Library. The objective was to increase light levels so that bookshelves could be moved to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. By upgrading to LED lighting and installing an Internet of Things lighting control system, the library not only increased light levels but also reduced energy use by 83% and saved up to 20% in HVAC energy costs by creating smart zones that reduced air conditioning load. The intelligent lighting control system adjusts lighting based on occupancy, incorporates daylight harvesting, and allows for scheduled lighting.

Lighting Environments in Baltimore, Maryland: Advanced Use of Sensors and Controls in Lighting and Other Integrated Systems and Lighting categories.

When Lighting Environments redesigned its Baltimore office in 2019, it seized the opportunity to create both a comfortable and customizable office for their employees and a state-of-the-art showroom for their customers. The office features lighting technology that can change brightness and color, create various lighting effects using pre-programmed shows, and automatically adjusts the lighting throughout the day for a dynamic and visually appealing environment. In addition, the building’s HVAC system is integrated with lighting schedules and motion sensors to reduce unnecessary energy consumption.

Kinnelon High School in Kinnelon, New Jersey: Germicidal Ultraviolet (GUV) Systems for Energy Savings and Improved Indoor Air Quality category.

During the pandemic, Kinnelon High School explored how they could use federal funding to ensure ongoing sanitization and improve indoor air quality in shared learning spaces. The solution included installing in most classrooms two hybrid ultraviolet C (UV-C) air-purifier and whole room disinfection fixtures with embedded occupancy sensors. The fixtures were installed between the rows of regular pendant lighting and operate on the same electrical circuits. During the day, the fixtures perform recommended air changes using HEPA, UV-C, and active carbon filtration in occupied spaces. At night, scheduled UV-C treatments disinfect surfaces and airborne pathogens throughout the facility.

Lineage Logistics in Seattle, Washington: Advanced Use of Sensors and Controls in Lighting category.

At a large cold storage facility like Lineage’s Seattle location, energy usage constitutes a significant portion of operating costs. Thanks to a $99,000 incentive from Seattle City Light, Lineage reduced the number of lights in their facility from 636 fluorescent bulbs to 585 LED fixtures, which brought their annual energy usage down from 561,081 kWh to 109,866 kWh. The LED lighting upgrade project resulted in energy savings of $38,890, refrigeration savings of $5,890, and projected annual maintenance savings of $10,000, resulting in a total annual savings of $54,780.

Ortega Middle School in Alamosa, Colorado: Advanced Use of Sensors and Controls in Lighting category.

When the school began a pilot project of color-tuning fixtures in two classrooms, teacher feedback was so positive that when the school decided to replace asbestos ceiling tiles and install new LED fixtures, it was an easy decision to install color-tuning lights throughout the building. Along with tunability, the lighting systems include occupancy sensors, daylight harvesting, and zone controls. Both students and staff have expressed the positive effect of the lighting on their attitudes in the building.

Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation in Los Angeles, California: Germicidal (GUV) Systems for Energy Savings and Improved Indoor Air Quality category.

The organization installed upper room GUV technology in its offices and selected public facilities. The technology is deployed in sites with high employee density and frequent interaction with the public. The fixtures utilize UV-C light to neutralize airborne microorganisms in real-time, targeting the upper room of occupied spaces. It achieves a high air change rate, providing at least 12 equivalent air changes per hour for efficient air disinfection. This deployment enables Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation to continue operations and provide safe environments for both staff and the community.

Recognized Supporters

The ILC also recognized the California Energy Alliance (CEA) in Sacramento, California; Evergreen Consulting Group in Beaverton, Oregon; and for their exemplary support and advocacy of advanced lighting controls and technologies.

For more information, go to Integrated Lighting Campaign.

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