Magazine

American Tobacco Campus in NC Setting Pace for Energy Efficiency

By Sarah Blouch

The American Tobacco Campus, central to the Historic District in downtown Durham, NC, and said to be a national model for historic redevelopment, also is setting standards for energy efficiency as part of a collaboration with Duke Energy and LED innovator Cree Inc.

Tobacco entrepreneurs founded the so-called campus more than a century ago. In 2004, a public-private partnership transformed its dilapidated factories into premium office space and entertainment destinations.

With this expansive efficiency upgrade, the urban mixed-use development continues its cutting-edge ways – challenging other historic revitalizations to follow suit, according to an American Tobacco press release.  

“Innovation has always been in the DNA of the American Tobacco Campus,” said Michael Goodmon, Real Estate VP for Capitol Broadcasting Co., which owns the historic redevelopment.

“As we prepare to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the campus’ re-birth [this year], we’re thrilled to partner with Duke Energy and Cree to set the pace for revitalization projects around the country.”

Campus executives worked with engineers from Duke Energy’s SmartBuilding Advantage initiative to identify efficiency improvements that helped reduce energy consumption at the 1.2 million-square-foot facility through day-to-day operations, and with the engineering design firm Building Intelligence Group, to develop comprehensive solutions for the challenges associated with making historic buildings more energy efficient.

As part of the efficiency upgrade, more than 1,000 interior and exterior LED lighting fixtures by Cree have been installed, designed to deliver high-quality illumination and reduced energy consumption.

Updating inefficient lighting fixtures with long-lasting Cree LED lighting solutions offered an effective way to reduce energy usage and maintenance needs associated with re-lamping, while simultaneously delivering high-quality lighting.

The campus lighting upgrade included:

• Replacing 76 1,000-watt metal-halide fixtures with Cree Edge area luminaires on the roof decks;

• Upgrading the garage lighting with Cree 304 Series LED luminaires; and

• Replacing the garage lighting with Cree VG Series LED parking garage luminaires, designed to deliver the combination of optical performance for reduced glare, efficiency, low initial cost and fast payback.



“Reducing energy and labor costs while maintaining light quality is essential for parking garages that often operate 24/7 hours,” said Mike Bauer, Cree VP of Lighting Sales. “Our easy-to-install parking garage luminaires provide significant energy savings, along with exceptional light quality and uniformity, while virtually eliminating the need for routine maintenance.”

Additional energy-efficient upgrades include:

• Updates to the existing HVAC systems to optimize demand control for campus buildings;

• Chiller system upgrades and control optimization to manage heating and cooling times for campus buildings;

• Lighting- and demand-control upgrades to prevent non-stop energy usage; and

• Progress toward Energy Star certification.



The total energy reduction resulting from the approved efficiencies is estimated to approach 18% annually.



The American Tobacco Campus offers 1 million square feet of premium office space in a historic factory setting bustling with restaurants, entertainment, mature businesses and the American Underground startup hub.

The campus serves as a bridge from Durham’s past as one of the world’s tobacco centers to its present and future as a knowledge, science and medical capital.

Article Abstract from April, 2014




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