GWCC Gains Funding, Plans Lighting Upgrade

The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) in Atlanta was recently awarded a $2.3 million grant for a major lighting retrofit and controls system upgrade through the State Retrofit Program. The goal of the lighting retrofit is to reduce energy consumption, as well as operation and maintenance costs, by using more energy efficient lamps and advanced lighting controls. The project is estimated to be complete in September 2011.

Lighting retrofits will initially take place in exhibit halls.

Secured through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) and the State Energy Program (which received funding for the grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)), the GWCC will use the grant for a major replacement of nearly 1,500 lighting fixtures in the convention center’s 12 exhibit halls (1.4 million sq.ft). The grant, managed by the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission (GSFIC), will be used to replace the current 1,000-watt metal halide lighting fixtures with 750-watt pulse start metal halide fixtures in the exhibit space.

Lighting controls will also be upgraded to models that will allow for greater ability to control the fixtures on an individual basis.

“We are constantly looking to reduce our energy consumption and costs and to be more sustainable in our day to day operations,” said GWCC Assistant General Manager Patrick Skaggs. “We appreciate the assistance we’ve received from GEFA and GSFIC in securing and managing these federal funds, which will decrease our utility and labor costs in operating and maintaining the 1,500 fixtures that will be replaced.”

With an annual power bill of more than $4 million, and more than 20,000 light fixtures throughout the 3.9 million square foot facility, energy efficiency is an ongoing focus. And the potential savings from the new fixtures will make a tremendous impact. Each bulb will potentially result in up to 25% savings per usage and will last 20% longer than the bulbs currently in use.

In 2010, the convention center saved more than 5.8 million kWhs over 2009 consumption numbers. The GWCC is optimistic about expanding the retrofit program in the future, and research on further funding options for higher efficiency fixtures is underway.