Magazine

River East, Chicago the Numbers Are In

River East

Jeff Pinyot

I think it’s safe to say that a good thing is worth waiting for. That’s exactly the case with the relighting project at the River East Parking Garage at Navy Pier in Chicago.

A call to ECO Parking Lights from the Chicago Impark office back in 2009 alerted the company to a possible lighting project at the large four-level parking garage that they managed. After being introduced to the potential of large energy and maintenance savings through relighting projects, Impark did what a great operator should do: They recognized the opportunity and advised their customer, Intercontinental Real Estate Corp., of the potential financial windfall of a relighting project.

Served by T12 lighting technology, the property suffered severely from rapidly depreciating lamps, significant energy consumption (243 watts per fixture), high-maintenance requirements, and lamps that experienced reduction in output from the brutal cold Chicago weather, even though the facility has underground parking.

After a comprehensive walk-through of the facility, Impark was presented an installed relighting project that included supporting the Chicago economy by subcontracting the installation to a local contractor and by manufacturing their Induction lighting fixtures in their Chicago factory.

Intercontinental agreed to a demonstration installation, pitting five of the 100-watt induction fixtures against five T8 linear fluorescent fixtures. The fixtures were installed in the darkest and poorest lighted sections of the garage, which serves day commuters, the Embassy Suites Hotel, and the River East Condominiums.

Despite having an extremely attractive payback of only 2.5 years when considering the ComEd rebate of $70 per fixture and the $.60/sq ft EPACT 2005 tax incentive (see Sidebar), the owner sat on the proposal and the demos for nearly two years.

Once the demos were installed, the residents of the River East condos moved their best vehicles and located them under the new induction lighting, which had previously been the darkest section of the garage.

Intercontinental agreed to meet with ECO Parking Lights at the Boston NPA show to discuss the project.

After considering the success of the now two-year-old demo induction installation compared with the fluorescent installation, which did not perform well under the spacing of the existing fixtures like the induction; and after rejecting a late entry of an imported Chinese induction fixture, Intercontinental agreed to do the lighting retrofit with the ECO Parking Lights induction solution. The installation was completed in September 2011.

Asked by ECO how the project has performed over the first year of installation, Al Paraharm, Senior Project Manager for Impark at the River East property said, “The energy and maintenance savings you predicted are exactly as you said they would be. … We are spending less than half of what we used to on energy, and we haven’t paid a dime on maintenance since the new fixtures were installed.”

Art Isom, Property Manager for Intercontinental, added: “This is the first time we have ever been able to see across the entire length of the garage.”

Asked by ECO if Impark had seen increased revenue due to the lighting change out, Paraharm said, “Not only have we seen a measureable increase in parkers, we have had many unsolicited comments from parkers indicating that they now choose to park in River East over other garages because they feel safer with the new lighting.”

Citing their confidence in the work that Impark has done for them from the lighting retrofit to increased revenues, Intercontinental recently extended the contractual relationship with Impark without offering the parking facility out for competitive bids.

Jeff Pinyot, President of ECO Parking Lights, can be reached at jspinyot@ecoparkinglights.com.

 

Project Summary:

Existing: 660 T12 and HID fixtures consuming 152 kW

of energy.

New:     660 ECO Quad Induction fixtures consuming 63 kW of energy.

Energy savings: 89 kW, or 58% reduction in energy.

Annual energy savings: 89kW x $.07/kWh x 8,760 hours = $54,575/year

    Utility rate of $.07/kWh

    8,760 hours of operation per year (24/7/365)

Maintenance savings: $12,574/year

Total annual savings: $54,575 + $12,574 = $67,149/year

Payback: $305,000 Project cost -

$44,400 ComEd rebate -

$91,558 EPACT incentive (at 30% tax rate) = $164,042 / $67,149 total annual savings =

2.5 years

 

Payback ‘Rule of Thumb’

One of the mysteries of lighting is why owners delay and choose instead to continue to pay huge sums to utilities and to their maintenance budgets. Here is a good “rule of thumb.” If the project pays off within the warranty period of the equipment, including financing costs, thus eliminating all risks and obstacles, and if doing the project enhances your facility, do the project.

As the slogan goes, a lighting retrofit is “Green That Makes Cents!”

Note also that all induction is not alike. Insist on a U.S.-manufactured induction fixture that includes lamps and ballast from North America, such as the Sylvania Icetron lamp and the ballast used by ECO Parking Lights.

Article Abstract from December, 2012




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