Transportation Services at Texas A&M University in College Station is shining a much brighter light on its parking customers, thanks in part to a $15 million state energy conservation upgrade that includes building heating/cooling automation.
Lighting fixtures in all five campus parking garages are being replaced, with completion expected this month. The $2 million retrofit was designed to reduce energy consumption, costs and carbon emissions, and to improve lighting levels.
Phase 1 of the campus-wide project involved replacing existing high-pressure sodium (HPS) parking garage lighting fixtures, which produce a yellowish/orange light. After more than a year-long study and search for the right technology, induction fixtures, manufactured and provided by ECO Parking Lights of Fishers, IN, were selected as the best overall choice for use in the garages.
Induction lighting produces a very efficient white light that, when compared with the existing HPS lamps, performs heroically. Other lighting sources that were considered but ruled out for various reasons were LED and fluorescent lighting. Induction lighting was determined to be the best long-term solution, yielding the highest return on investment.
The garage lighting retrofits will cut energy consumption in half, to approximately 2.2 million kWh annually, which at current rates translates into a savings of about $175,000 per year. All lighting areas of the garages will in some way be replaced with low-energy fixtures, including stairwells, elevator lobbies and roof tops.
Asked about the project, Peter Lange, Executive Director of Transportation Services for Texas A&M University, said, “We chose induction over LED for several reasons. “The first was length of life. Induction has a proven track record, whereas LED is a new technology with very few installations that are older than three years. We think LED will be a proven technology at some point in the future but felt it was not at a maturity level that we were comfortable with.
“The second big factor was price. If we had chosen LED, we would have been able to retrofit about two and a half of our garages. With induction, we are able to retrofit all five garages.”
“Plus, the ECO team has been easy to work with,” Lange said. “They have provided test fixtures [and] photometric analysis and have been very responsive to all of our questions.”
The parking garages lighting project investment of $2 million was made available to Texas A&M through a low-interest loan from the State Energy Conservation Office. The loan will be repaid over 10 years using energy savings achieved as a result of the project. Also, ECO Parking and Sylvania provided the university with a 10-year parts warranty on the induction lamps and generators.
Texas A&M’s Transportation Services and departments of Utilities & Energy Management, Facilities Planning & Construction, and Facilities Services, and the Smart Energy Campus Initiative all have roles in completing the campus-wide conservation project.
June A. Broughton, Marketing Manager of Transportation Services at Texas A&M University, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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