Magazine

University Cuts Costs With New Lighting Solution

Gavin Cooper

For Florida International University (FIU) in Greater Miami, the state’s third-largest university with more than 46,000 students, accommodating its growing student body and faculty is a constant challenge.

Currently, FIU has five parking garages spread across its 342-acre Modesto A. Maidique Campus (MMC) in Miami. Because they come with a host of lighting-related issues – maintenance costs, rising utility rates, premature outages and dark spots – the administration knew it was essential to have a reliable and cost-effective solution to keep the structures lighted and functional at all hours and in all kinds of weather.

To cut costs and properly illuminate one of them, the MMC’s Blue Garage, the university turned to LED Source, a lighting solutions provider based in Wellington, FL. The existing lights were dim and unreliable. In addition to their high usage cost, the poor lighting quality and dark spots contributed to safety concerns.

“Parking garages can be a challenge to light due to their exposure to the elements and the number of hours that fixtures must operate each day,” said Marcel Fairbairn, company President and CEO. “LEDs are the perfect lighting solution for spaces like these. Not only [are they] able to improve the look and light levels, but LEDs drastically reduce overall energy consumption and maintenance costs.”

MMC’s Blue Garage, which opened in 2002, can accommodate more than 1,000 parkers. Previously, the four-story garage was lighted by 400 metal-halide fixtures, each operating at 208 watts with ballast. LED Source replaced them with C2D low-bay LED fixtures from Lighting Science. At only 71 watts, the new fixtures eliminated costly ballast changes and re-lamping.

The new LED fixtures also improved the overall lighting quality and reduced energy and maintenance costs by an average of 66%. They last up to 85,000 hours, contain no mercury – unlike metal-halide fixtures – and do not require lamp replacement, which eliminates recycling and disposal costs.

FIU’s annual energy and maintenance savings are estimated at $32,582. While operating 20 hours per day, five days per week, return on investment (ROI) for the project is anticipated to be just over four years. In addition, adopting energy efficient LED lights means a step in the right direction for the university’s sustainability initiative.

“The LED fixtures truly improved the overall look of our Blue Parking Garage,” says Lazaro Rodriguez, Coordinator at FIU. “It not only provided better light but improved safety. Customers have also stated they love the new look.”

The trend of parking garages transitioning to LED lighting is catching on quickly. The company recently completed work on One Parking, a garage located at Brickell Key Park in Miami. As part of an overall strategy for cost reduction and safety and sustainability, revamping One Parking’s lighting system proved effective: 189 fixtures using 208 watts were replaced with 189 LED fixtures using only 74 watts. The lighting overhaul resulted in a 64.4 percent reduction in energy usage and will save the company more than $30,000 annually in energy related expenses.

And as LED technology continues to improve and costs come down, the demand for energy efficient LED lighting in parking garages will continue to grow in popularity.



Gavin Cooper, Vice President of LED Source,

can be reached at gavin@ledsource.com.



 

Article Abstract from March, 2013




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