Lighting upgrades benefit a range of facilities nationwide

July 30, 2008 - Owners Developers & Managers

Susan Bloom

Did you know that lighting upgrades involving energy-efficient lamps, ballasts, controls, etc. routinely pay themselves back within two to three years and yield returns on investment in the 30-50% range? And if these results didn't qualify lighting upgrades as extremely attractive investments all on their own, the availability of commercial tax deductions for eligible upgrades through the Federal government's 2005 Energy Policy Act provides an even more compelling reason to pursue an energy-efficient lighting upgrade in your facility today.
The following real-life examples highlight how several different facilities have successfully pursued the lighting upgrade opportunity to reap a range of benefits:
Commercial: Lincoln Plaza (Dallas, Tex.)
The 1.1 million s/f Lincoln Plaza high-rise recently benefited from an extensive lighting overhaul. Lighting fixtures within all of the tenant-lease building's 45 stories were upgraded with T8 fluorescent lamps, electronic ballasts, and reflectors. In addition, incandescent lamps were replaced with compact fluorescent lamps and the building's 400+ exit signs were retrofitted with highly-efficient LED technology. As a result, Lincoln Plaza is saving over 4 million kilowatt-hours of energy each year, which has the equivalent impact on the environment as the planting of 1,300 acres of trees or the removal of 600 cars from U.S. roads. To the management team's delight, the project has reduced Lincoln Plaza's energy bills by over $330,000 annually, resulting in a three-year payback for the entity and a nearly 35% return on investment.
Educational:
University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, VA )
The vintage, 1,400-seat Dodd Auditorium at the historic U. of Mary Washington was the recent beneficiary of a lighting upgrade. Saddled with an inefficient dimmable incandescent lighting system in the auditorium which delivered extremely low light levels and created on-going maintenance issues, university officials hoped to increase energy efficiency, reduce maintenance requirements, and obtain greater dimming abilities while offering a lighting system that was more aesthetically-pleasing and flexible.
The solution came in the form of a cutting-edge dimmable lighting system involving 55-watt compact fluorescent lamps and electronic dimming ballasts. With a 20,000-hour lifespan and a high color rendering index, the lamps combine all of the long life and energy efficiency benefits of fluorescent technology with the pleasing appearance typically associated with incandescent lighting. The system reduced energy consumption and costs in the auditorium by up to 40%, and, with the ability to dim from 100% down to 5%, the system enables university personnel to adjust light levels for all manner of events and activities.
Industrial: Victory Packaging (Dallas, Tex.)
Victory Packaging, a leading provider of high-quality packaging products and services, recently undertook a lighting upgrade to address the inefficient and costly lighting system in place throughout its 160,000 s/f production and warehouse facility. Plagued with an outdated combination of 400-watt metal halide, high pressure sodium, mercury vapor, and T-12 fluorescent lamp and magnetic ballast technology, the system was inefficient, non-standardized, and delivered less than optimal light levels.
With support from a local energy service company, Victory Packaging's management team replaced their old lighting fixtures with an efficient new system involving fluorescent T5 High Output lamps driven by electronic ballasts. In addition to reducing energy consumption and costs by 30-40% and paying itself back in three years, the system is delivering up to 10 times the light levels of the previous system and helping to promote safety and security among the warehouse workforce while elevating productivity.
From commercial and educational to retail facilities and industrial warehouses, upgrades involving energy-efficient lighting technology are improving lighting quality, simplifying purchasing and maintenance requirements, helping the environment, and routinely driving attractive 30-50% returns on investment and up to 20-25% reductions in total facility energy consumption and costs in facilities of all types nationwide. These real-life examples are just some of the thousands that have successfully pursued and subsequently enjoyed the comprehensive range of benefits that lighting upgrades have to offer.

Susan Bloom is director of corporate communications for Philips Lighting & Advance

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