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U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.


The Herbert C. Hoover Building, headquarters for the U.S. Department of Commerce, was built in 1932 and provides 2 million square feet of office space. Due to its size and age, each year the building consumes more than 20 million kilowatt hours of electricity at a cost of more than $2 million. With budgets becoming tighter every year, building management is under increasing pressure to deliver greater efficiency without negatively impacting the building’s 3,500 tenants.

With this goal in mind, building management launched a pilot project in 2018 to replace hundreds of aging light fixtures throughout the building with modern LED fixtures. This provided a reliable, industry-proven solution, which has become increasingly cost effective over the last few years.

The biggest challenge for many federal agencies is funding. As budgets get tighter, overhead like facilities spending takes a secondary role to delivering on the public mission. Building management used a variety of tools to supplement available funding, including load-shedding proceeds and grant programs. In order to maximize impact, the areas of focus were those requiring 24-hour lighting for either safety or security such as stairwells.

The replacement will save more than $75,000 taxpayer dollars every year and reduce carbon footprint by 80 tons of carbon dioxide per year. In addition to saving on electrical costs, the new fixtures will last longer and require less maintenance than the fluorescent units they replaced. Due to the success of this initial pilot, additional funding has been provided to finish out the attic and mechanical rooms. LED fixtures are also now specified on an overall modernization project and will eventually be installed for all 2 million square feet of the building.

In-house Participants

Eugene Altermatt, James Fay, Matthew Waterman, Thomas Teel

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