Spotlight on Savings: LED Upgrade Delivers Benefits

  June 30, 2016

By Dan Hounsell

At the U-Haul corporate headquarters parking structure in Phoenix, the existing lighting tended to yellow and could cast shadows that created a murky effect throughout the structure. The less-than-ideal lighting was also not energy efficient.

When U-Haul began its search for a new lighting solution, it turned to LED lighting, which the company had considered but was concerned about the high temperatures in Phoenix. Initially, the company considered fluorescent and induction options because of the higher Kelvin temperatures available, but since its initial look, LED lighting technology greatly improved and became the clear choice this time around.

Requirements for this LED installation included better light quality and performance, lower maintenance needs and costs, an outstanding product warranty, and light-level control functionality. All of these features were needed without compromising on the ability to meet U-Haul’s prime sustainability goal of energy reduction. Cree LED lighting was able to deliver the energy reduction U-Haul was seeking with all the performance, quality and control features it demanded.

The lighting upgrade was comprehensive and provided an excellent opportunity to maximize energy savings.

“The scope of the project included replacing nearly 400 fluorescent lighting fixtures with LED luminaires,” says Michelle Sullivan, U-Haul’s manager of corporate sustainability, adding that all of the lighting in the parking garage was from 4-foot, 25-watt T8 lamps and roughly 85 percent of all fixtures included four lamps. “With the new LED applications, we were able to eliminate more than 12 percent of our existing fixtures.”

The T8 lamps were replaced with Cree VG Series LED parking structure luminaires because of the light quality and output and lighting controls available. The 24/7 availability of the corporate office meant the parking structure lighting would be on around the clock. With the VG Series lighting control features, the new lights operate when needed—and time in use has been trimmed to approximately four hours per day.

Along with energy saved via its new lighting solution, U-Haul saved maintenance costs as well. Prior to the new lighting, maintenance was performed by U-Haul building technicians approximately every three weeks and was scheduled before or after normal business hours for minimal impact on the normal traffic flow. Material costs, time and labor added up to a costly monthly exercise. Now, the building technicians can focus on other areas of the facility as the costs of installation and replacement products are freed up for other expenses.

Feedback on the new lighting has been excellent.

“There are no longer dimly-lit areas in our parking structure that had previously raised safety concerns. With the increased amount and quality of light, visibility in the garage has improved overall,” Sullivan says.

The U-Haul project included installation of 324 Cree VG Series parking structure luminaires, more than 50 Cree LS Series surface ambient luminaires for ramp and stairwell lighting and OSQ Series and XSP Series outdoor luminaires. U-Haul is pleased with its lighting solution because Cree was able to accommodate the aged and uniquely-shaped parking structure. This allowed U-Haul to modernize its lighting while working within its longstanding building design.

Along with vastly improved light quality, U-Haul is seeing its energy savings grow. The company expects to realize more than 15 percent energy savings from the upgrade. The new lighting has reduced the existing wattage by more than 17,000 watts to provide an estimated annual kilowatt hour savings of more than 250,000 kWh. The expected lifetime savings is 3.7 million kWh.

This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell, editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, dan.hounsell@tradepressmedia.com.


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