Magazine

Portland State Upgrades Security Through New Lighting System

Portland State University (PSU) has all the advantages of an urban campus. Located in the heart of Oregon’s largest city, near rivers and mountains, it brings a multitude of learning experiences to its students. It also faces the challenges of being in center city. And one of them is security.

Parking garages can attract problems, particularly in the urban environment. Some of the population that had nothing to do with the downtown university tended to cause concern. A project to upgrade the lighting in the garages and on campus was begun.

The first task was to convince funding departments that the project was going to make a difference. According to Mick Nelson, PSU’s Electrical Manager, a test group of LED fixtures was installed in one garage. The campus security department noted that reported problems moved to other garages.

“When I walked through the [test] garage, I felt safer,” Nelson said. “It’s a bright, white light.”

Nelson and his staff were able to make the case for funding for the project. It took nine months to complete the conversion.

The existing luminaires were reaching their replacement point. Most lighting begins to deteriorate in the amount of actual light produced, and the maintenance costs of the existing induction lighting were beginning to rise.

“We tested a number of lighting systems, and LED seemed to best fit our needs,” Nelson said. “The light color, the distribution and the energy savings sold us.”

He and his staff noted a number of benefits to the new lighting system. First was an immediate 60% reduction in electricity costs. “In some garages, we use occupancy sensors and have seen an even greater reduction in energy usage,” he said.

“We tested a number of different luminaires and found that some had ‘hot spots’ with extremely bright light in some areas and less in others. This can make visibility in the lots more difficult as the eye stops at the edge of the bright areas.

“Our new system, with the same amount of wattage, gives a smooth, even spread of light. ... We are extremely pleased with the new LEDs,” Nelson said.

The university installed more than 1,000 luminaires in its five garages and 250 more in on-campus walkways and plazas. The conversion was completed in summer 2013.

“We have reduced our maintenance activity to almost zero. I’m a believer in the new LED system,” Nelson said.



Portland State University selected Simply LEDs as its vendor, supplied through Magnum Commercial Lighting Distributors.

For more information, go to www.magnumdistributorsCLG.com.



 

Article Abstract from October, 2013




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