A small but mighty facility management team of four at Enumclaw High School, based in Enumclaw, Wash., started thinking about luminaire level lighting controls (LLLCs) as a retrofit option before they even began renovation plans. This was because during a conference several years ago, LLLC technology caught their attention when a vendor showed them the granular capability of the sensor-based technology.
LLLCs are a type of networked lighting controls (NLCs) system with factory-integrated sensors in each luminaire. The sensors provide occupancy and daylight sensing and wireless, two-way digital communication with other luminaires in the space, and can connect via gateway and the internet to unite spaces. The sensors have multiple capabilities including dimming, daylight harvesting, glare control, and color tuning, offering flexibility.
The school district wanted to incorporate a modern design with greater energy efficiency at Enumclaw High School in 2016, so LLLC technology immediately came to the minds of the facility team. Since LLLC luminaires can provide light levels only as it is needed, it saves significant amounts of energy. They talked to the staff of Washington-based Pacific Lamp and Supply Co., the vendor who first introduced them to LLLC technology at a conference several years ago. The company helped the team install samples of several fixtures with LLLCs in their maintenance offices over a six-month period to test the system’s capabilities.
“You can usually tell with just five or six fixtures if you don’t like something, rather than finding out down the road after you’ve installed 500-plus fixtures,” said Paul Rasmussen, the vendor’s account manager.
Throughout the trial period, the facility managers and staff had nothing but positive feedback about the lighting system. Rather than old, flickering fluorescent lamps, students could now experience a balanced combination of LED and natural light at their desks.
“We have received nothing but positive feedback,” said Enumclaw School District Facilities Manager Peter French. “Some of the spaces with new fixtures are offices like counseling centers, for example, where we are able to tune the light level to what they want. Most are choosing less light, resulting in even more energy savings.”
To go forward with the lighting redesign at the high school, Enumclaw School District and Pacific Lamp decided to apply for an incentive of $35,800 through their local utility, Puget Sound Energy. The technology met the utility’s requirements and allowed the school district to recoup the installation cost after just four years.
The installation was a simple and speedy process because there was no control wiring involved and the LLLC-enabled luminaires connected to existing power leads. The facility completed the installation in three weeks. By dimming some lights up to 70% of their output, the school not only saved energy but also prevented over-lit spaces.
With the full school renovation complete, Enumclaw High School anticipates 137,000 kWh in energy savings annually, reducing energy costs by about $13,000 each year, saving money for the school district. Beyond the energy benefits and maintenance savings, students are more comfortable in the classroom with the new color temperature.
For French and his team, choosing the right partners who have training and expertise in the latest technologies was paramount to their project’s success. Enumclaw School District has now undergone lighting renovations with LLLCs at six additional facilities in the district and counting, with more than 500,000 kWh of energy savings.
Angela Pilant has worked at Evergreen Consulting Group since 2009 and specializes in market and trend analysis, utility program development, client engagement strategies, and training. She can be reached at [email protected].