Lighting

Lighting energy savings from efficient LEDs to utility rebate programs

Determining the energy savings for an LED upgrade through an in-house retro-commissioning group provided a glimpse into a company's own operating hour behaviors, dimming needs, and daylight harvesting opportunities.
By Brienne Willcock, MIES, LC, Peter Basso Associates May 2, 2019
Photo courtesy: Peter Basso Associates

Lighting energy savings from efficient LEDs to utility rebate programsWhen we started the lighting design process for our office renovation in 2016, our approach was not unlike our strategy when working with our clients. To begin the process of selection, we created a list of criteria that focused on considerations for our staff, clients and visitors. In particular, we looked at lighting ‘behavior’ characteristics that were of value to us: uniformity, visual comfort, and color quality to name a few.

Our team then moved on to finding answers to questions pertaining to lighting aesthetics. For example, what visual rhythm should the lighting have? What would its role be in wayfinding? How modern would we like the fixtures to seem? And so on. One thing that was certain from the onset was our desire to utilize LED throughout without exception, and to leverage our deep understanding of the benefits of the energy savings and form factor possibilities.

Then we started crunching numbers.

Determining the energy savings for the LED upgrade through our in-house retro-commissioning group gave us a glimpse into our own operating hour behaviors, dimming needs and daylight harvesting opportunities.

Prior to the renovation, we were using 1.1 watts per square foot (see energy graphic), and following the renovation, we see an impressive reduction to 0.34 watts per square foot – a third of what we were utilizing before. We expect our new lighting system to save about $12,500 a year in electricity costs, without taking into account our dimming strategy (right now we’re operating at 65% of full output).

As a trade ally for both DTE and Consumers Energy, we’ve assisted many of our clients in applying for energy efficiency rebate dollars, so we were well aware of the rebates available for our renovation. We also look forward to participating in DTE Energy’s new Advanced Lighting Control Systems pilot program to offer additional rebates to our clients.

Lighting energy savings from efficient LEDs to utility rebate programsWith the completion of our office refresh, we are now seeing and experiencing the many energy saving benefits that we often provide to our clients. Along with the added benefit of having user control, we can now see real-time energy usage, control dimming & vacancy sensors, set a master time clock, and monitor our daylight harvesting around the building perimeter.

Our team helped in managing realistic expectations, finding ways to reduce costs and energy use, and in providing real -time updates to our staff during the implementation of our lighting system.

Having an experienced team of lighting designers, electrical engineers, and an in-house commissioning group certainly has its benefits.


Brienne Willcock, MIES, LC, Peter Basso Associates Inc. This article originally appeared on Peter Basso Associates’ blog. Peter Basso Associates is a CFE Media content partner.

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