Moscone Center Employs World’s Largest Lighting Control System

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff February 1, 2005

Project Profile: Moscone West, San Francisco

Developed Space: Gross building area of 775,000 square feet. Primary exhibit space is 96,660 square feet at street level, with “swing space” of 199,432 square feet on levels two and three for use either as exhibit or meeting/banquet space in flexible combinations. Each “swing space” can be configured into as many as 38 rooms.

Project Challenge
Moscone West’s flexible space configurations demanded an exceptional degree of flexibility in lighting control. The earlier two Moscone structures (Moscone North and Moscone South) utilized a complex and problematic lighting control system which required complicated and time consuming manual procedure for lighting each day’s events. The earlier system was:

  • not conducive to advance scheduling;

  • unable to interface with multi-media controls;

  • included two lighting systems — one for exhibition lighting (HID lamps) and another for meeting room configuration (1,000w incandescent lamps);

  • featured poor lighting levels.

To make matters worse, each “swing space” required two separate lighting systems: one for exhibitions and one for meetings (dimmable). Each dimmable incandescent luminaire required a separate dimming control (about 750 per swing space). In the North and South buildings, this meant separate “home-run” wiring for each luminaire (750 luminaires x 4 swing spaces x 2 conductors each = 6,000 conductors.

Project Diagnosis
Jon Stachelrodt, LC&D’s VP Marketing & PR, and Bill Anderson of Sport Lite, Inc. were invited by Kristina K. Martin of Micro Panel. Also in attendance were the Moscone Center’s architectural and electrical contractor firms, the office of the Mayor of the City of San Francisco and the Moscone Center’s management company, maintenance department, electrical staff and convention support teams.

Their mandate was clear: manufacture a peer-to-peer network lighting control system with the ability to separately configure and control each of more than 1,600 smart luminaires sometimes days in advance (more than 6,400 nodes). The User Interface (UI) was required to be so intuitive as to virtually eliminate any training requirements

Additionally, there was a laundry list of customized features including:

• Combined dimming and switch controls;
• A single lighting system for both meeting rooms and exhibitions;
• Elimination of thousands of “home-runs;”
• Energy savings;
• Integration to house dimming;
• Integration to the building automation system;
• Integration to the multi-media system;
• Web-enabled User Interface (UI) which could be accessed through Moscone West
• Achievement of fire marshal override code requirements in case of fire

A single demonstration of the Micro Panel won instantaneous, unanimous approval. Let’s take a closer look.

LC&D’s Solution
The Micro Panel is a compact, networked lighting controller that seamlessly integrates manual control, occupancy sensors, daylight harvesting, time-based controls and building automation.It met all of the client’s requirements and more.

Each of more than 1,600 four ballast eight lamp luminaries were factory installed with a Micro Panel and pre-wired using “modular wiring” connectors. In the field line voltage home-run wiring was reduced by 97%!Coupled with modular wiring, the savings in labor was estimated to be over $300,000.

Since the Micro Panels were network ready, they needed no field addressing and were remotely programmable. Little to no involvement was required from the Electrical Contractor for programming or network setup.

Cat 5 patch cables with RJ 45 connectors were used to network the Micro Panels into a single, intelligent system.LC&D utilized its Unity GX Software to develop a series of browser-based graphical screens for configuring, scheduling and real-time control.

Best of all, this intuitive lighting setup process required almost no training for the electrical and house staff.

Project Results
More than 1,600 fixtures are individually controlled by separate Micro Panels, giving three switched and one dimmed output. This allows the show staff flexibility in meeting the space demands of a wide range of clients. The time to setup lighting configurations has been greatly reduced and can be saved to memory. Here’s a recap:

• Ability to easily setup various lighting configurations in advance
• Reduction in energy consumption
• Installation savings estimated at $300,000
• Reduction in line voltage home-run wiring by 97%
• Little to no programming or network setup required

Project Follow-up
The Moscone Center relies on LC&D’s Tech Support team which is available on a 24/7 basis to trouble shoot, problem solve and re-program on a moment’s notice, drastically reducing ongoing regular maintenance costs:

• LC&D design software can cut design time by 75% saving money and planning time
• LC&D systems are completely monitored, programmed, adjusted and maintained with dial-up programming for the life of the system with changes made while the client in on the phone with our support team.

Project Testimonials

For LC&D:
Jon Stachelrodt, VP, Marketing & PR (323-226-0000)

“We were approached by a representative of a lighting manufacturer (Sport Lite, Inc) to see if we could come up with a product which would network their light fixtures. We had one already developed — the MicroPanel.

Together we presented it to The Engineering Enterprise (the Electrical Engineering firm), the Moscone show team, the Moscone in-house electricians, the Architectural firm, the management company responsible for the Moscone, and representatives from The Mayors Office for the City of San Francisco.

Each group had criteria and issues they wanted solved:

  • The Electrical Engineers wanted a system that would eliminate the thousands of conductors, which had been used to wire the existing lighting controls in previous Moscone phases.

  • The electricians needed something, which eliminated the headaches of the existing non-programmable systems in the older phases of the Moscone.

  • The show staff wanted to be able to make last minute changes.

  • The management groups all wanted to save money during installation and save energy dollars later.

  • The Architect was particular that the system had to be so intuitive that it required little training.

The MicroPanel solved their problems.

With more than 1,600 relay panels, this may be the largest lighting control system in the world.”

For Moscone Center West:

Don Rubel, Assistant Chief Engineer (415-974-4000)

“I really liked the versatility of the LC&D system. Our clients are always impressed with what I can offer them in the way of controlling lights for their function or presentation and the fact that we can control any single fixture, or multiple fixtures in any room or multiple rooms linked together. The user interface for the setup is very easy to understand and use and I like being able to access the set-up and user program from different locations, at different pc’s or laptop computers. This translates into a quicker response to any last minute lighting adjustment request. I am very impressed with the technical support we have received in the past year.I can call anytime, day or night, weekends included and always was able to talk with someone to help me get through a problem.”

EE for the project

Kristina K. Martin, The Engineering Enterprise (510-769-7600)

Kristina Martin is an electrical engineer and lighting designer and has been with The Engineering Enterprise, in Alameda, California for 16 years.She graduated with an Architectural Engineering degree from the University of Kansas in 1987, is a member of IESNA, IALD and is Lighting Certified (LC). Her projects over the years have included college and university buildings, libraries, laboratories, community recreational centers, and medical office buildings.

“The Moscone West Conference Center was one of my more interesting projects. Completed in 2004, the building consists of 480,000 square feet, including 3 stories plus a full basement for utility services, loading and kitchen space. The ground floor level is open exhibit space and the upper two floors are conference room‘swing spaces’. The biggest challenge for this upper floor ‘swing space’ was to provide the user with an extremely flexible, energy efficient system. The owner’s clientele demands that the facility be able to adjust to meet their specific needs.

Each upper floor has the potential to be configured from one large meeting space, into several dozen small conference rooms, or any combination in between. The staff has to be able to quickly and easily configure a space for the next day’s events. Programming typical events in advance was also desirable, so that they could quickly be implemented when needed. By working with LCD we were able to provide an addressable system that allows advance programming from a laptop, either just before a production, or weeks in advance. LC&D produced graphic computer displays showing each floor, allowing adjustment of each meeting room, and even permitting individual control of each of the over 1,600 fixtures, as needed.

In order to provide an energy efficient system, while maintaining good color rendering, and having‘quick-response’ emergency lighting, we chose a multi-lamp, recessed fluorescent fixture (by Sport Lite Inc.). Each fixture uses 8 compact fluorescent lamps with four 2-lamp ballasts. To enable the user to have individual fixture control, we incorporated LC&D’s 4 relay MicroPanel device into each fixture. The housing of the MicroPanel had to be specially designed to attach to the fixture’s ballast housing, in order to meet UL requirements.

Because dimming for the entire facility proved to be too costly, we provided a “stepped” dimming process for the first three sets of lamps, and a continuous dimming ballast for the last set of lamps in each fixture. This enabled us to closely match the capabilities that Moscone has in their other facilities. Some of the lamps also required the emergency‘full on’ capability. The combination of switching, dimming, and emergency override was all easily accomplished with the MicroPanel relay system.

LC&D was extremely cooperative and enjoyable to work with throughout the 6-year design and construction process. Whenever a challenge arose; from meeting UL requirements to coordinating the final graphics, training the end user, and monitoring the first year of events, LC&D was very proactive and always had the Owner’s best interest in mind.

We have worked with LC&D on many other projects where complex systems, flexibility, and programmable, addressable systems are desired. Their engineering, sales, and support staff are all outstanding!”