Mall Brightens Parking Garage With LED

When consumers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, need to go shopping they have the option to visit the Shops of Grand Avenue. This inviting shopping destination is located conveniently in the heart of Milwaukee and is filled with a fun combination of national chain stores and locally based establishments. Shoppers who are anxious to add the latest fashions to their wardrobes, browse for the perfect gift, or simply run errands all in one place flock to the Shops of Grand Avenue nearly every day of the year. Overall it has always been a lovely and enjoyable experience, at least outside of the parking lot areas.

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Even though the six-story parking decks were outfitted with standard numbers of standard metal halide lights, these areas were often too dark, much like the majority of parking decks in the world.  And the problem with dark locations is that they are less appealing to look at, create negative feelings, and increase safety risks. Good lighting is an important way to reduce all of these negative effects and if there’s one place where good lighting is especially critical, it’s the parking garage at the shopping mall. It’s hard enough to determine whether there’s an empty space or a small car parked beside that SUV, or if someone has just pulled in or is about to pull out, without having to deal with lighting issues compounding the situation. Not to mention that children and pedestrians can be next to invisible in poorly lit parking garages, creating a real recipe for disaster.

With all of this in mind, the owners of the parking garages at the Shops of Grand Avenue decided to upgrade the lighting in the garage spaces in an effort to correct these issues and hopefully save some money at the same time. Then they determined that energy-saving LED lighting was what they needed to install in their garages to best achieve all of their goals.

They started with a one-lot project to get the ball rolling. The lot had always been illuminated by 986 metal halide lights that each consumed over 150 watts of electricity. The retrofit project replaced these with VPL LED fixtures which consume only 51 watts of electricity per fixture, but produce comparable amounts of light to the old metal halide bulbs. Replacing the metal halide fixtures with LEDs reduced the parking garage facility’s lighting energy consumption by over 66 percent.

Movement and light detecting sensors save more energy

Although that was a great start, they were far from done with the project. They were able to also implement two more energy-saving strategies into the facility’s new lighting. The first of these strategies uses occupancy sensors on the fixtures to detect movement. When the area is empty of pedestrians or moving vehicles, the fixtures dim their light output by 40 percent, which reduces energy consumption while maintaining enough light output for safety and security purposes. When a vehicle or pedestrian approaches an area, the sensors instantly bring the fixtures to full brightness. All 986 LED fixtures in the parking garage are outfitted with these occupancy sensors for maximum effectiveness.

The second energy-saving strategy implemented in the parking deck is the use of daylight sensors to reduce energy usage even more. These sensors are mounted on 450 fixtures, located in areas where natural light enters the structure during the day. When these sensors detect ample natural daylight around them, they turn off the fixture to save energy and extend life. These sensors also have a built-in time delay function that avoids starting up when natural light levels are temporarily dimmed like when clouds pass over the sun.

The chosen LED light fixtures have a lighting efficacy of between 97 and 103 lumens per watt. When combined with the daylight and occupancy sensors which are located throughout the parking garage, the LED lights are expected to save the facility over $134,000 in energy costs every year. This represents an annual energy savings of 1,344,963 kWh, or 949 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduced. This is equal to taking 198 cars off the road for a year.

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