Bright Ideas In Lighting

A facility-wide lighting retrofit focused on updating a multi-family property with energy efficiency and occupant safety and comfort in mind.

By Kevin Youngquist
From the August 2018

Located near the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, AZ, Green Leaf Tempe Station is a 400-unit apartment complex home to college students, as well as area professionals. Set on a little more than 18 acres, the 16-building complex features spacious floor plans, a resort style pool and spa, grilling areas, a fitness center, a detached garage/storage building, a maintenance shop, and a mail kiosk. Resident units range from 854 to 1,441 square feet.

lighting retrofit
At Green Leaf Tempe Station, a 400-unit apartment complex in Tempe, AZ, the owner’s sustainability goals included performing a facility-wide lighting retrofit focused on energy efficiency and occupant safety and comfort. (Photo: EarthTronics)

When this property was recently acquired by the Green Leaf Partners Company, this new owner set out to revamp the multi-family property. Part of this project a facility-wide lighting retrofit focused on energy efficiency and occupant safety and comfort. An owner of other communities, Green Leaf Partners holds sustainability as an important component of operations and maintenance. From the principals to the maintenance staff, the company is focused on reducing its environmental footprint by recycling, reducing waste, and utilizing energy efficient technologies, including solar energy, energy efficient appliances, low-flow shower heads, programmable thermostats, and LED lighting.

Green Leaf Tempe Station, formerly Apache Station, was purchased under the Freddie Mac Green Program which provided incentives for Green Leaf Partners to make energy efficiency improvements to the property in areas like water conservation using water pumps and filtration systems and energy efficient appliances.

David Burrill, corporate construction manager for Green Leaf Partners, says, “At all of our properties, we make substantial improvements with goals of sustainable building, reduced waste, and energy efficiency. Many times, the biggest impact and best benefit we could afford our residents and investors is in energy savings.” He notes that a cost-effective way the company saves energy to use high efficiency LED lighting.

Green Leaf Partners and its Tempe property staff wanted to become more energy efficient by maximizing kilowatt hour savings. In addition, they knew that well selected lighting can completely change the appearance of a property, increase safety, and save energy.

Seeking Energy Savings

As a result, Green Leaf Partners asked Energy Efficiency Pros, a specialty LED lighting provider in Tempe, AZ, to conduct an energy audit of the entire Green Leaf Tempe Station complex, including lighting for interior, exterior, and common areas.

As part of this energy audit, Energy Efficiency Pros focused on identifying products and solutions for high-lighting volume applications. The company worked with Ferrin Electric in Mesa, AZ, who provides inspection services by licensed electricians, infrared thermology, surge suppression, voltage and current diagnosis, power quality, and light pole repair.

The audit revealed that the property was using a variety of lighting products. Operating at the site were 250- and 400-watt high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps; T8 and T12HO fluorescent; 12-, 18-, 40-and 42-watt compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs); 25-watt halogen; 26-watt 4 pin fluorescent; and 40-watt incandescent lamps. Meanwhile, most of the plastic lenses on the wall mounted downlights over the building identification signs exhibited discoloration from overheating/burning due to the use of 100-watt incandescent bulbs.

The findings of this audit prompted management to decide to convert the lighting sources to LED lighting. Next, Energy Efficiency Pros and Ferrin Electric decided to work with the property’s existing fixtures to generate the fastest payback and make the most applicable use of current LED technology. In addition, Energy Efficiency Pros helped Green Leaf maximize available incentives to reduce their costs for the LED lighting retrofit.

Don Bartelt, vice president of sales and operations for Energy Efficiency Pros, says, “The apartment complex was utilizing compact fluorescent lamps in its common areas and rooms, which were Energy Star rated but not really efficient. These CFLs had a six-month performance life at Green Leaf Tempe Station. Although CFLs are more efficient than incandescent bulbs, they do not come close to offering the benefits of LED lamps.”

Burrill adds, “During the audit, we reviewed every aspect of lighting. We looked at color temperature to ensure the right kind of light for specific areas. For example, we put warm white 2700K light in bedrooms to create a more conducive restful environment. For exterior halls and parking lots, we used a 4000K light to increase visibility and safety.”

Green On The Inside

For interior spaces, Energy Efficiency Pros eventually specified G25, A15, A19, A21, BR20 and B11 LED EarthBulbs from EarthTronics, a LED lighting and manufacturer based in Muskegon, MI. Bartelt additionally recommended replacing the 18-, 40- and 42-watt CFLs with 6-, 9- and 11-watt A15, A19 and A21 omni-directional LEDs which provide 450, 810, and 1100 lumens, respectively. The omni-directional LEDs are complemented with the 5-watt G25 LED bulbs for the apartment bathrooms.

In interior downlight applications, 2700K BR20s proved ideal for dimming recessed lighting, track lighting, and display lighting applications. These BR20 LEDs are rated to last 25,000 hours, a significantly longer lifespan than that of the CFLs they replaced. For the interior decorative lamps and wall sconces, 4.7-watt B11 candle style LEDs were specified. The 2700K, 315 lumen light source also has a 25,000-hour performance life. “Just as important as the energy savings, the LEDs maintained the light levels and a warm, comfortable residential environment,” states Bartelt.

In the fitness area of the complex, 26-watt 4-pin fluorescents were replaced by 8-watt LED lamps in the cans which reduced energy by 70%; these are from Hylite LED Lighting located in Fort Mill, SC. Meanwhile, the 45-watt CFLs in the breezeway cans were replaced by 10-watt LED lamps, reducing energy use by 78%. These lamps are expected to perform up to 50,000 hours, which will also reduce maintenance costs at Green Leaf Tempe Station.

In the site’s community center and for the floodlights around the complex, recessed downlights from Westgate, a lighting company in Vernon, CA, were specified because of their abilities to provide 90 CRI and expected performance of more than 35,000 hours.

Green On The Outside

For exterior spaces, Energy Efficiency Pros specified the 150-watt Matrix product from iGLO LED, a lighting company located in Fort Worth, TX. The Matrix Shoebox pole lamp was chosen to replace the existing 458-watt high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps around the property, reducing energy by 67% while maintaining lumen levels. These IP65-rated lamps provide a soft yellow lighting with instant start without flickering or humming. Energy Efficiency Pros also replaced the existing 189-watt HPS pole lights with 60-watt floodlights to reduce energy by 68%.

Meanwhile, flood lamps specified for pathway lighting and around the parking lots are rated for 70,000 hours, and these IP65-rated 15-watt lamps provide 110 lumens.

In the carports used by residents, high performance 10-watt LED VL Lamps provide energy efficient illumination at 120° beam angles to replace 18-, 26- and 32-watt CFL lamps. These lamps are expected to perform up to 50,000 hours, in keeping with the aim of reduced maintenance costs. Additionally, in this area, the 34-watt T12 fluorescent lamps, two per fixture, were replaced by LED 15-watt T8 lamps.

The energy lighting project was completed in approximately three months, providing immediate and substantial savings for the property. Burrill says, “We are excited about all of the improvements we make at all of our properties, but lighting is one of the most apparent that benefits everyone in many ways. Energy Efficiency Pros gave us great advice and were flexible when our needs changed.”

Bartelt concludes, “After LEDs were installed, Green Leaf Partners was very pleased with the energy reduction and the quality of light, which provides comfort to its residents and meets the property’s environmentally friendly mission. Overall, Green Leaf Tempe Station will reduce its lighting energy consumption by more than 400,000 kWh each year.”

lighting retrofitYoungquist is responsible for the sales, marketing and business operations in North America for EarthTronics, a LED lighting product manufacturer and supplier based in Muskegon, MI. He has more than 25 years of lighting experience. This includes developing lighting specifications, as well as energy audits for hotels, residential multi-family facilities, long-term care, and commercial buildings.

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