Project Profile: Parking Structure Retrofits
Part 1: Lighting Retrofits Improve Efficiency, Safety in Parking Structures, Surface Lots
Lighting Retrofits Improve Efficiency, Safety in Parking Structures, Surface Lots
By Chris Matt, Managing Editor - Print & E-Media - September 2010 - Lighting
Commercial and institutional facilities measure the success of building retrofits and upgrades in a variety of ways, including cost savings, reduced energy use, and improved productivity of those responsible for maintaining the new technology.
But one indicator that is difficult to quantify — yet speaks to the innovation and quality of the project — is the level of interest from peers outside the organization. A prime example of that dynamic is taking place at the University of California, Davis, where lighting retrofits are garnering a great deal of attention.
"It's been an interesting ride so far," says Chris Cioni, the university's associate director of utilities. "We've had a lot of inquiries from folks in the field who have found out about the projects just by searching on the Internet."
The university's Smart Lighting Initiative has turned the campus into something of a lighting laboratory, thanks in large part to the university's relationship with the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC), a demonstration and education facility on campus that develops energy-efficient technologies. Cioni uses CLTC staff as a sounding board when considering cutting-edge lighting technology for retrofit projects.
"That's where I rely pretty much on the CLTC," he says. "It's been fantastic having them here."
Focus on Energy, Safety
Cioni, his team, and the CLTC joined forces in retrofitting fixtures in campus parking structures and surface lots. Their next set of projects will focus on pathways, roads, and fixtures on building exteriors. The opportunities for savings are great, considering the number of exterior fixtures on campus — 2,300 fixtures in parking structures and surface lots, as well as 700 fixtures on roads, 1,300 on pedestrian and bicycle paths, and 3,000 on building exteriors.
The Smart Lighting Initiative, which began in late 2004, does include interior lighting, but Cioni concentrates solely on exterior fixtures. The university spent almost $1 million retrofitting fixtures in its surface lots and parking structures, which generated about $300,000 in utility rebates. The projects have resulted in additional benefits, including energy savings, reduced maintenance, and improved safety.
The primary technologies the university specified for the retrofits were bi-level induction lamps, light-emitting-diode (LED) fixtures, and lighting controls.
"The energy savings were the first target," Cioni says. "What drove me was having those very large and prominent parking lots right near a very visible part of campus. We have a big performing arts center (The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts), and it's kind of a focal point. Seeing these empty parking lots when I would drive in early in the morning when it was still dark, it just caught me as wasteful and a real opportunity to do something different."
While lowering energy use was a primary goal, Cioni felt the projects needed to have benefits beyond energy savings to generate broad support. So he met with the campus police chief to discuss the retrofits' impact on public safety.
"There were perceived safety improvements by moving some of the lights — low-color temperature (fixtures) — to this whiter light," Cioni says of the bi-level induction lamps. "The patrol officers could see things more clearly and distinguish colors and details. The bi-level or adaptable-light mode, where it goes from a dormant, half output to full output based on occupancy (is important)."
Using the induction lamps also results in longer lamp life — up to 100,000 hours — which means less frequent replacement and fewer lamps in landfills.