Simple Energy Strategies From One of our Real-World Applications

We’ve all been to a number of seminars on LEED. They all seem to be heavy on the checklist, but skimp on the details to get you there. On a recent project we employed a number of simple strategies that we believed would make a impact- both on energy consumption as well as yearly operating costs.  Hopefully sharing these ideas, can open up some additional strategies to consider as we all move toward a more sustainable future.  

The project profiled here is a 14 story downtown convention center hotel housing over 500 guest rooms along with full ballroom/meeting facilities and a three meal restaurant.

Stairwell Light Fixture with Integrated Occupancy SensorOne strategy we incorporated was occupancy sensing in the stairwells.  Building studies have indicated that stairwells are only occupied 1-7% of the time, this was clearly an area where we could maximize savings. This project has 3 stairwells that run all 14 floors. We used simple wall mounted luminaires with integrated occupancy sensors. 

This fixture has a stand-alone sensor built in. When occupancy is detected, the two 4’ 32 watt T8 lamps come on at full brightness. When no occupancy is sensed, those lights turn off and the space remains at a lower light level through the use of a single 2’ 17 watt T8.  Using this system, in lieu of having these lights operate 24 hours a day for public access provides a savings to the Owner of about $5000 a year. In addition, it saves about 82,000 lbs of greenhouse gases being emitted.Occupancy sensor fixture in use

Another simple strategy we employed was again, through the use of occupancy sensors- this time it was in back of house corridor spaces.  A hotel operates 24 hours a day, but those spaces are not always in use and can provide savings if lights are dimmed or turned off when not needed.  On this project, we used a clever circuiting pattern that allowed every other light to be control via occ sensor (the others were mastered by a timeclock).  This scenario was employed on 4 floors of back-of-house spaces within the hotel. Based on industry studies, we used a 25% projected energy savings for occupancy sensing in a corridor space and are estimating an energy savings of an additional $750 per year to the Owner in electricity bill savings. 

The project will be opening in the Fall of 2012.  At this point, we are keeping our fingers crossed for Gold certification.