Lighting Jackpot in Vegas
“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” That’s what they say, but when it comes to hitting it big, the story usually gets out. That’s the case for Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, a retail shopping area in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. By doing a special lighting upgrade and capturing the energy savings opportunity in its 10-story parking structure, Miracle Mile Shops, and Director of Retail Assets Mollie Doyle, were able to save some serious cash.
The 5,300-space, 1.5 million-square-foot concrete-monster housed 1,756 175-watt metal-halide (210 watts total) energy guzzlers, consuming nearly 370 kilowatts of electricity, at a cost of $297,000 annually. As is typical with the high depreciation rate of metal-halide lamps, the lighting maintenance costs the Miracle Mile Shops incurred annually were too much, Doyle said.
She and the Miracle Mile Shops’ engineering department went through a three-year effort to look at many different types of available lighting systems, particularly LED, induction and fluorescent. In doing their evaluation, the team realized there was a broad range of costs and performance characteristics for each technology.
“From the beginning, we were trying to figure out the best solution for us,” Doyle said. “We wanted to make sure that we really understood the different options.”
They quickly determined that LEDs were not going to be cost-effective within their budget. Induction fixtures were considered, but did not give enough light to meet IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) recommended lighting levels.
Enter fluorescents. Miracle Mile Shops and Doyle found that fluorescents were able to provide high-quality light output, dramatic reduction in maintenance costs and excellent upfront value. They tested several types of linear lighting systems: two- and three-lamp T8 and T5 systems, with and without specular reflectors, all with different distributions.
The team realized that to properly illuminate the garage, it needed to use a system that cast ample light onto that entire cavity and minimized the “cave-like” effect that happens all too frequently in parking garages. This is accomplished with “uplight,” where light from the fixture illuminates the ceiling before reflecting, creating broader, more effective distribution.
Being a large Las Vegas Boulevard retail provider meant there was no room to gamble with light levels. It was crucial to make the garage more appealing and safer for customers.
After putting in a series of test fixtures, they ultimately chose a three-lamp T8 reflectorized, vapor-tight, 111-watt ParkLight fixture from Green Lighting Technologies that has a more than 20% uplight contribution, with a broad distribution for proper uniformity.
While other fixtures had lower unit prices, the “build quality” and long-term ROI of these fluorescent fixtures carried the day. “ParkLight is going to be meeting our needs for years to come,” Doyle said.
Not only were light levels improved dramatically, exceeding IES-recommended standards, the new lighting system is designed to save Miracle Mile Shops 47% on energy costs, or more than $140,000 per year.
And based on the lifespan of the new system – 42,000-hour lamp life, 24/7 use, 100,000-hour ballast life and a 20-year fixture life – maintenance costs would be virtually nonexistent for the next three to five years.
As with most projects, return on investment was a key factor as to whether the project was going to move forward.
The projected electricity and maintenance savings, combined with a $63,918 incentive from NV Power for the replacement of the metal-halide fixtures, resulted in the estimated installed payback of less than 2.25 years. And with no need to roll the dice on technologies with limited track records as to performance, Miracle Mile Shops was able to come out a winner.
Peter Kelly, Founder and Managing Director of Green Lighting Technologies, can be reached at email@example.com.