Energy Projects

GVSU has conducted a number of Energy Projects over the last decade.

Project Spotlight - Pew Campus Parking Structure Lighting Renovations

An energy audit was conducted to provide a comprehensive lighting review for the purpose of reducing energy use of the Grand Valley State University Pew Campus Parking Structure located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The structure has five levels with approximately 328,255 square feet and over 900 parking spaces. The structure utilized traditional high intensity discharge lighting to illuminate the general parking area throughout the facility. This was accomplished primarily through the use of 150W, 250W and 400W high pressure sodium parking ramp fixtures. The existing luminance levels were well above the recommended parking structure lighting levels. The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) has light level recommendations for various buildings. These recommendations served as guidelines for the project.

Several lighting retrofit options were explored as part of the survey, each with a unique cost/benefit analysis.  The possible lighting retrofit options considered for the structure lighting were classified into categories based on the lighting source and technology available at the time; fluorescent, light emitting diode (LED), and induction.  An economic analysis was made that looked at energy saved and capital costs. The end result was a multifaceted design to utilize the best technology in a given area. Lighting control through occupancy and daylight sensors presented an effective way to reduce energy consumption within the structure.  This was balanced with lighting concerns surrounding security and personal safety.  Initially a pilot test was conducted with ten lights. The project proceeded with the intent to use daylight sensor controls and additional occupancy sensor controls to each luminaire in their applicable zone.  

For the main floors in the structure 32W two lamp fluorescent fixtures offered the best economical solution with additional occupancy lighting controls.  The fluorescent fixtures were installed with an occupancy sensor. When unoccupied, only one lamp in the fixture is always illuminated. When a vehicle or pedestrian approaches the vicinity of the light fixture the second lamp is powered on.  This proved to be the majority of the energy savings.  At the entrance ways and stairways 27W compact fluorescents offered the best return. Since the stairways had plenty of daylight coming in from windows, daylight harvesting photo sensors were installed into the circuits. And finally on the top deck LED’s were installed on the pole lights.

The net result of identifying and installing different types of fixtures and control mechanisms for the various zones resulted in an energy drop that was more than 53%. The project started in August of 2011 and the main floors were completed by November 2011. From November 2011 through October 2012 the structure used 342,437 kWh. Looking at a matching previous twelve month interval prior to any lighting and additional control changes the power usage was 733,952 kWh. This project when totally completed reduced the power consumption 391,515 kWh.  The total project cost was $216,702. The University was able to secure $52,526 from the local utility company through their energy incentive program. With the energy savings the University was also able to reduce utility company monthly meter fees substantially.  The combination of the energy reduction rebates and reduced meter fees provided a simple payback of 3.5 years.

In addition to the energy savings this project maintained or exceeded the lighting recommendations by IESNA and improved lighting quality by enhancing color and improving perception without compromising security.


Page last modified July 2, 2013