In use at Virginia Commonwealth Univ., TekDek luminaires from Kenall Manufacturing are designed specifically for parking structures and deliver excellent uniformity and vertical luminance for enhanced safety and security of garage patrons.
When considering how to best update the lighting in Virginia Commonwealth Univ.’s (VCU) $17.3 million Jefferson Street parking deck in downtown Richmond, VA, VCU staff and architects at Baskervill, an architecture, interior design, and engineering firm in Richmond, agreed first priority was a high level of uniformity to ensure the safety and security of garage patrons and their property.
They also knew that energy reduction in the 689-space garage was a critical goal because of commitments made after the garage was built in 2008. In 2010, VCU signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). ACUPCC, now part of a larger group known as Second Nature, is an initiative founded in 2006 by twelve U.S. college and university presidents. Their goal was to encourage learning institutions to not only work toward achieving the scientific goal of climate neutrality, but to also educate and prepare students to develop new, sustainable solutions for energy-related projects on campus. Since its inception, more than 650 colleges and universities have signed the commitment.
As a signatory of ACUPCC, VCU has committed to be 100% carbon-neutral by 2050. Reducing electricity usage plays a major role in meeting this objective, since purchased electricity (generated mostly by coal and nuclear power) accounts for half of the school’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To accomplish this, VCU must cut energy consumption by 2%/yr. and seek alternative sources in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30% in 2025. Prior to signing ACUPCC, the university was already subject to Virginia’s Executive Order 48, signed in 2007, which required all state agencies to reduce energy costs by 25% by 2012. VCU achieved 100% of its goal on time, while realizing a cost savings of $1.6 million.
“Baskervill was the original architect when the parking garage was built. At that time, the emphasis was on high-intensity, high-footcandle lighting, rather than energy efficiency. Our challenge was to upgrade the whole facility to a modern LED system,” said Jay L. Woodburn, architect and principal at Baskervill.
At the start of the project, VCU staff installed and carefully evaluated LED luminaire samples from several manufacturers. They toured existing installations near Richmond, and all vendors submitted to a competitive-bid process before the university selected TekDek TD17 luminaires, designed and made by Kenall Manufacturing, Kenosha, WI. Further reinforcing VCU’s purchase decision was Kenall’s 10-yr. limited LED warranty that covers excessive lumen depreciation—as defined by L70 luminaire lifetime—resulting from defects in workmanship, materials, LED lamps, and internal power-regulation components.
With additional assistance from Richmond-based agency Lighting Virginia and Baskervill, VCU reduced the number of fixtures installed from 446 to 273. The old 175-W metal halide and induction lamps, 10% of which had already been re-lamped with LED bulbs, were replaced with 49-W LED luminaires. TekDek is designed specifically for parking structures and delivers excellent uniformity and vertical luminance for enhanced safety and security of garage patrons. Those involved with the project especially liked the fixture’s optics, which are designed to reduce disabling glare for drivers and pedestrians. “They really liked the fact that there were no hot spots and that you could stare right at the lights and not see the LEDs because of the [specially designed tertiary] lens,” said Woodburn.
In addition to the LED luminaires, VCU staff identified lighting controls as yet another way to conserve energy. “Diligence is very important to Baskervill, so our engineer, Richard Nelson, dug more deeply into the control systems available from each manufacturer to ensure that the controls fit all the needs of the project,” said Woodburn. TekLink TL1000 lighting controls, a cloud-based lighting-control system designed and manufactured by Kenall was chosen.
The new network of luminaires and controls further reduce power consumption by using occupancy sensors, which allow VCU to trim the lighting during periods when there are no students in the garage. TekLink lighting controls carefully monitor energy usage and allow the facility manager to adjust system settings using a simple user interface, accessible with a tablet, cell phone, or PC.
The ability to monitor the lighting remotely saves time compared to manually inspecting the lights. TekLink can also monitor power consumption and e-mail reports directly from the tablet. That means the days of hiring someone to drive around each parking garage to check for lights that are malfunctioning or out are over: “Perceived security is a very big deal to VCU and they are very on top of their maintenance, so unlike some other parking facilities that might let a third of the lights burn out before making repairs, they were fixing each individual light whenever there was an issue,” said Woodburn.
Installing TekDek and TekLink together also provides a level of simplicity and serviceability that isn’t easily found elsewhere, since everything is designed, built, and shipped by a single manufacturer. Carter Adams, principal at Lighting Virginia, added, “I think [for customers] the idea of being able to monitor all of their parking garages in one system has great appeal.”
Energy cost savings were significant from the beginning. In the first six months, savings steadily increased from 44.4% in August 2015 (the first month the luminaires were in use) to 55% in January 2016 after the TekLink control system was fully operational for two months. VCU is also installing TekDek luminaires and TekLink controls in the 984-space West Broad Street parking deck. The Broad Street garage provides public parking for commuters and visitors to the Monroe Park campus, Siegel Center sporting and special events, the VCU Welcome Center, and the street-level Barnes & Noble @VCU bookstore. Upon completion of the lighting upgrade on the West Broad Street deck, facilities staff will be able to monitor energy consumption, cost savings, and maintenance needs for both parking decks remotely with TekLink controls.
The new installation checks all the boxes: enhanced safety and security for the university’s parking-garage patrons as well as energy savings and reduced GHG emissions for the university.
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