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Lighting Redesign and Retrofit for Blue Mountain Arts PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Heising   
Feb 18, 2010 at 01:45 PM
We have just completed a Spectrally Enhanced lighting redesign and retrofit for Blue Mountain Arts here in Boulder.  We retrofitted T12 and 400 Watt Metal halide lighting for 235,000 square feet in four buildings.  Like many of our existing buildings, uses in the facility have changed several times as tenants and owners have changed.  A simple fixture by fixture retrofit was not going to solve some fundamental problems with the lighting system.   Since typical utility demand side utility programs don't rebate for disabling fixtures, and since our Utility, Xcel Energy now offers lighting redesign rebates, (where they will rebate up to 75% of the costs for the lighting redesign study, we figured we had nothing to lose.   The total cost for the retrofit for four buildings was ~$180K  but we were able to get ~$60K back from Xcel Energy in rebates by taking advantage of Xcel's Lighting Redesign Program.  (The prescripitve rebates without the Lighting Redesign program would have been only ~$30K).  We were able to get the lighting power density for their warehouse down from ~1 watt per square foot to 0.44 watts per square foot.  This is a 66% savings.  As Spectrally enhanced lighting saves 20% more we set our target for 0.55 watts per square foot (as prescribed for Warehouses by the Energy Policy Act of 2005)  In addition we implemented occupancy sensor switching for their warehouse aisle application that automatically turns most of tha aisle lights off (in the aisles that are unoccupied much of the day) more than 50 percent of the time which will save even more money in kWh that is not reflected in the lighting power density. 
For the Blue Mountain Arts warehouse with a minimal 2340 hours per year of use, a 12% heating penalty and with low rate of 8.5 cents per kWh, the payback estimated by Xcel is under 4 years.  This does not include avoided maintenance expenses or human performance factors which can be significant.  For Blue Mountain Arts, everything is now new and under warranty and the retrofit is projected to save $27,000 in annual energy costs.just at their warehouse.  This demand reduction amounts to a significant savings that complements their net metered PV installations and provides significant leverage financial leverage.  In their office buildings, we were able to achieve even faster paybacks as 4 lamp T12 fixtures were delamped to 2 highest performance SUNWAVE T8 PLUS FULL SPECTRUM 5550K 93 CRI Spectrally Enhanced Lamps.  (Generically Spectrally Enhanced Lighting is 5000K and >80CRI which are available from most manufacturers but are typically a special order for the "High Lumen" version) and Full Spectrum lamps. (Full Spectrum lamps are typically >5500K >90 CRI.)  

Blue Mountain Arts is an interesting case study.  Perhaps your facilities manager or CEO (cheif environmental officer) would be interested in finding out more about we harvested this low hanging fruit.   Given that Lighting Efficiency is a renewable energy source perhaps you would be interested in a presentation on how it works. Not everyone likes the new light right away, however, at Blue Mountain Arts (and the other projects we have completed,) this has not been an issue.  More than not, people like the new lights, and we have received more than one really positive comment about how much easier it is to see and read small print with out finding my glasses and how people feel less tired at the end of the day which have nothing to do with energy and everything to do with productivity.    

Spectrally Enhanced lighting (simply shifting the color of the light to be more like daylight) is currently recommended by FEMP for saving 50% off T12 and 20% off high efficiency T8's that are not spectrally enhanced.  CLICK HERE  for their recommendation.  This is LBNL technology but is just now emerging.  It is not patented, and it tends to cannibalize existing lighting products so the corporate lighting powers that be and tech transfer types are not all that interested,   It is controversial in that it is not yet accepted by IES  (which to some extent reflects resistance to change by the lighting industry and as everyone knows lighting engineers know more than biologists)   DOE FEMP accepts it and recommends it for saving energy.  CEE has added footnotes including more of the existing Spectrally Enhanced lamps in their Highest Performance category.  

In my experience however, not all spectrally enhanced lamps are created equal.  While many would be happy saving 30% with yellow lighting 3500K business as usual, some forward thinking companies might be interested in the 66% savings that can be achieved with little additional incremental costs.  Once we can get past the current "fovea centric" (that is the only light worth measuring is light that stimulate the RGB cones in the fovea) view of lighting one can understand why the current practice of characterizing lighting as simply Lumens and foot candles is not the only valid measurement.  Just as light is more than lumens, light energy other than lumens are perceived by human photoreceptor systems.  There are three separate photoreceptors systems in the eye;  Photopic, Scotopic and Cirtopic wavelengths are all perceived, and any lighting system that does not account for all three systems and health and wellness effects, will not ultimately be the most sustainable. 

The current system is still largely as inefficient as the Incandescent Light Bulb which has dominated the lighting landscape for the last 125 years.  While Spectrally Enhanced lighting can be an emotionally charged issue for some, (I don't like Blue, vs I don't like Yellow,)  It reminds me of the debate over Global Warming.  Even if it is warming, it's some natural process.  Corporations and consumers are not in any way responsible. Right?  Forward thinking (perhaps the sun doesn't revolve around the earth and the earth is not flat after all,)  financial managers will like a 25%+ ROI with a simple breakeven of less than 4 years not including human performance enhancements.  

I have completed several demonstration retrofits here in Boulder including the UMC at CU, UNAVCO (University Navstar Consortium), Boulder Community Hospital, and at NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network). 

We are
currently working with the City of San Diego and San Diego Gas and Electric.on a demonstration of 4th generation 100 lumen per watt spectrally enhanced T8 Plus technology.  We have done both T12 to T8 Plus and T8 to T8 Plus retrofits and both have a significantly postive Return on Investment.  We have also simply used the more efficient lamps in lamp for lamp relamping projects.  For CU we were able to demonstrate a 1.25 year incremental payback on energy savings selecting the more expensive but more visually effective lamps.  All of the projects are available for a tour with advance notice.  Preliminary tests completed so far show an additional 15% savings over the Advantage 850HL with the green end cap just by changing to the T8 Plus lamp design.  One could save energy by changing to the 28 or 25 watt lamps, however these lamps do not change the phosphor blend or improve the CRI or the Scotopic component.  As a part of our testing, we measured the S/P (scotopic/photopic ratio) for the 850HL and for the Sunwave T8 Plus 955.  The S/P ratio for the 850 was found to be only 1.6 while the Sunwave S/P ratio was measured at 2.2 (with a Solar Light Meter) which in practice means the light is perceived as visually brighter so fewer lamps or lower wattage lamps and even less energy is needed.  And we have not factored in any health and wellness or visual acquity performance benefits.  Users can not see any difference in brightness although the standard foot candle meters show fewer foot candles.  (Again, the eye sees scotopic lumens and the standard light meter does not.) 

Lighting is the fruit on the ground in Denver (and the rest of Colorado for that matter.)   CLICK HERE for a 1 page summary of the report.  OR CLICK HERE for the complete study. 

The T8 plus is slightly larger in diameter compared to the standard 1" or 8-8ths of an inch. The larger diameter results in reduced electrical resistance and lower wattage operation.  We add a 37 watt oversize cathode for extra long life particularly in overdrive applications.  The industry is stuck on the T8 1 inch standard even though it is not as efficient.  T5's are great, they are even smaller, only 5/8ths of an inch,  but it is fairly easy to demontrate that they are not as sustainable as high performance T8s.  For the industry, selling more lamps (that don't fit existing fixtures and therefore more new ballasts and more new fixtures is where they make their profits.)  Everything is compared to the lowly incandescent.  See our new LED is 5 times more efficient than the worst offender. See we put out 50 lumens per watt and last 50,000 hours.  And that's great, except the T8 Plus technology is able to put out 100 Lumens per watt which is twice as efficient as the CFL and the current crop of LED's.  And new high performance designs last at least 25,000 hours.  Some are rated up to 100,000 hours.  Sure they are more efficient than the incandescent.  Being less bad is not the same as being good. 

The same argument applies in the Mercury debate.  Less mercury is great, but all fluorescent lamps should be recycled regardless of low mercury claims as less mercury in the TCLP or RoHS tests does not always mean less actual mercury in the lamp.  Manufacturers know that you can't build a fluorescent lamp without mercury, and that the mercury gets used up (hence pink lamps) and have been very creative in packaging the mercury so that it does not show up in the TCLP test.  For the end users, saving more energy and providing better lighting at lower lifecycle costs reusing existing infrastructure where possible is more sustainable.  Ulimately, one t8 running at 34 watts is more sustainable than 2 25 watt lamps running at 17 with the fancy low ballast factor ballasts.  How many T5 owners are aware that T5's operate optimally at 90 degrees C and that the light output falls off dramatically when they are cooled with AC to room temperature or 70 degrees F.   T8's however operate most efficiently at 70 degrees. 
Perhaps we could meet for coffee some time.  Maybe I can show you a couple cutting edge lighting retrofits that you might like to write about or that we can share with CRES.  From my point of view, anyone installing solar panels on their commercial property without first updating their lighting is missing the point both financially and from a human performace point of view.  We spend all our efforts on providing daylight for our new buildings. Then we install yellow lights to fill in when the clouds pass overhead.  But even if we make all our new buildings zero energy, we have only solved 2% of the problem.  For every yellow light installed in our buildings, we are choosing to leave excess energy consumption on the table. 
But solar is sexy and simple energy efficiency and human visual performance is not.  LED's are better than incandescents, but are not even close to existing highest performance T8's from a lifecycle cost perspective.  See CALiPER Round 9 test results.  In their conclusions, more than 66% of manufacturer claims regarding LED's were found to be significantly inaccurate.  Why should we believe anything we hear from the lighting industry if inaccuracy is the norm?  The fox is guarding the hen house as there is no third party independent verification. 
Who am I to wonder how someone can go all gaga over installing solar panels or installing daylighting and not address the underlying inefficiency first.  Same with controls and complicated and expensive building automation systems.  The payback looks good if youre controlling inefficient lights and not so good if you've already knocked 66% off the top. 

Steve Heising, CLEP
Spectrally Enhanced and Energy Effective Lighting, Lighting Retofits, and Lighting Redesign Services.  Low Cost Energy Assessments through investment grade Energy Audits are available.  Utility rebates, tax incentives, low interest financing and return on investments in Lighting Efficiency have never been higher.  The simple payback on common lighting retrofits in Boulder / Denver with T8 Plus lighting technology have been 2 to 4 years not including, avoided maintenance and improved visual ergonomics.  There can be multiple paybacks in a lifecycle cost analysis.  
What are we waiting for?  Is there something else we can do to boost the triple bottom line that is easier to implement with less risk?   See Citizens for Clean Energy for more information on Ultra Sustainable Lighting  and more from a new report by Navigant Consulting.  The T5 lighting was found to have the least over all envrionmental impact.  While its true that LED's don't contain mercury, There is a whole lot more than mercury that we need to consider from a lifecycle cost perspective. 

And if were going to recycle the lamps at the end of there lives, what's the point about concentrating on mercury in the lamp and not focusing on mercury from the coal fired power plants? 

Last Updated ( Jun 30, 2010 at 04:46 PM )
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EPA, Green Sports Alliance Partner for Conservation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on September 6 it had signed an agreement with the Green Sports Alliance to work together to address environmental challenges faced by sports venues, organizations, and teams. The two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding that facilitates collaboration between them on issues such as energy conservation and sustainability.

The EPA has also agreed to share tools like the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, an energy management tool that allows building owners to track and assess energy and water consumption, in order to help Alliance members improve their environmental performance.

Green Sports Alliance is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help sports teams, venues, and leagues enhance their environmental performance. Alliance members represent more than 100 sports teams and venues from 13 different sports leagues. See the EPA press release and the EPA's Partnership programs website.