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Volume XXIX, Number 6109
Tuesday, Jun 03, 2014

Arsenal Energy Efficiency Improvements Part 2: Lighting

The lighting retrofit increased brightness and energy efficiency in the lobby of the Arsenal;
The lighting retrofit increased brightness and energy efficiency in the lobby of the Arsenal;
Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

The Arsenal just became more energy efficient thanks to a refurbishment of the building's heating system and two lighting retrofits, spearheaded by the Parks Energy and Sustainability Team. Yesterday and today, The Daily Plant presents a two-part series on these projects. Read below for today's article about the lighting retrofits, and check out yesterday's article on the heating system refurbishment.

The first of the two lighting retrofits was completed in the Arsenal's third floor gallery. As a valuable public art and meeting space, the gallery's lights are on anytime the Arsenal is occupied, usually 7:00 a.m - 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Before the project, those lights consisted of 30, 50-watt halogen bulbs in a track lighting array. Because of the long lighting hours and the inefficiency of halogen lamps, the gallery lighting used an estimated 6,823 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity every year, costing Parks approximately $1,275.94. As a result of this high usage, coupled with the bulbs' short lifespans of roughly 2,000 hours, the bulbs burned out and had to be changed every few months.

To improve these conditions, Director of Art and Antiquities Jonathan Kuhn and Public Art Coordinator Jennifer Lantzas partnered with the Parks Energy and Sustainability Team, which had already conducted an energy audit of the entire Arsenal building. After gathering data on the existing lighting and energy use, the Energy and Sustainability Team decided to replace the 50-watt halogen bulbs with 10-watt light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs with estimated lifespans of 50,000 hours. The improved energy efficiency of LED technology enables the bulbs in the gallery to provide the same amount of light as the halogen bulbs, while using an estimated 84% less electricity. The new lights will even reduce air-conditioning needs because LED bulbs release much less energy as heat, compared to halogen bulbs. According to Parks' Energy Manager, Matt Brown, "These LED bulbs should save the agency over $1,000 every year in electricity costs and not need to be replaced for eight to ten years." As for the lighting appearance, there is no noticeable difference. Looking back on the project, Jonathan Kuhn explained, "Our interests to improve lighting functionality aligned perfectly with the agency's goals to reduce energy use and costs."

The Energy and Sustainability Team also provided support for a lighting retrofit project in the Arsenal lobby, conducted by Citywide Services electricians and painters and coordinated by Senior Architectural Conservator of the Historic House Trust, Jonathan Mellon. For many years prior to the project, the Historic House Trust had been exploring opportunities to brighten the lighting on the lobby's wall murals. Specific plans first called for augmenting the lighting provided by the lobby chandelier with added perimeter light fixtures using inefficient florescent bulbs that were not certified by the federal Energy Star program for energy efficiency. "The Energy and Sustainability Team got involved in the project after recognizing potential energy savings opportunities with the lobby lighting," Parks' Energy Liaison, Bill Vilkelis, recalled. As in the gallery lighting project, the Energy and Sustainability Team determined that LED technology was an appropriate energy-saving option for the perimeter lighting, this time utilizing recessed dimmable LED lighting, minimizing the additional electrical load.

Regardless of technology, adding lighting was going to increase energy use, but the Energy and Sustainability Team determined that they also could retrofit the chandelier itself, a retrofit that would lead to a net energy savings. Prior to the project, the chandelier used 30, 25-watt and 10, 60-watt flame tip incandescent bulbs. "Incandescent bulbs are the most energy inefficient lighting technology," explained Brown. "Basically, any change in technology from the incandescent bulbs was going to be an improvement in terms of energy use," added Vilkelis. Again utilizing LED bulbs, Citywide Services electricians replaced all of the incandescent bulbs in the chandelier with dimmable, 3-watt LED bulbs. Like the gallery retrofit, the chandelier retrofit will result in substantial annual energy savings, estimated to be 4,521 kWh, for a savings of $813.76 every year. While the perimeter LED lighting will add roughly 1,092 kWh or $196.56 in annual energy use, the savings from the chandelier retrofit should more than offset that increase. In fact, due to the net energy savings of the total project, it is expected to pay for itself in just under seven years. Above all, the lobby retrofit has already improved light levels on the murals, reduced energy use, and will save Parks money.

The Energy and Sustainability Team is engaged in other similar energy saving projects, from installing pool covers at indoor pools, to overhauling lighting systems in recreation centers. For more information on these efforts, visit the new Parks' sustainability intranet page at http://wss.parks.nycnet/Sustainability/default.aspx.

Interested in energy efficiency? Noticed inefficient incandescent light bulbs in your facility? Contact the Parks Energy and Sustainability Team.

Submitted by Nicholas E. Cohen, Sustainability Analyst


"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it."

Salvador Dali

(1904 - 1989)

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