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IUPUI reaps big energy savings, award from garage lighting projects

For Immediate Release Oct 25, 2017
IUPUI's LEEP award
IUPUI’s LEEP award

INDIANAPOLIS – More than 90 homes could be powered annually with the energy saved by sustainable lighting projects at three IUPUI garages that netted the campus a national award from building and facility management organizations.

The campus received its award for “Exemplary Higher Education Sector Parking” on Oct. 20 at the International Facility Management Association’s conference in Houston, Texas.

“Short-term cash outlays that both improve the quality of the service provided as well as reduce the long-term costs to the environment and to taxpayers in the form of reduced building operating costs are the easiest and most satisfying of projects to pursue,” said Emily Wren, IUPUI associate vice chancellor for facilities. “This project is a great example of the output of the application of the principles of long-term thinking by collaborative teams; results are win-win-win.” 

Bi-level LED lights with photocell and occupancy sensors were installed in the Riverwalk, Sports Complex and University Hospital garages. They reduced energy use in the three garages a total of 58 percent, from 1,841,610 to 778,854 kilowatt-hours.

According to 2015 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average residential home in Indiana uses 11,568 kilowatt-hours a year. Based on that figure, the lights at the three garages saved enough energy to power 92 homes annually.

The energy savings at the Riverwalk garage amounted to enough energy to power nine homes. The Sports Complex garage savings could power 54 homes, while the energy savings at the University Hospital garage would be enough for 29 homes.

The Riverwalk garage was built with the new LED lights instead of using lights that met current energy code standards. If it had been built to the current energy code, the garage would have used 397,150 kilowatt-hours, compared to the 103,259 kilowatt-hours it uses with LED lights, a 74 percent savings.

Energy use at the Sports Complex garage was reduced 77 percent. At the University Hospital garage, energy use dropped 53 percent.

The new bi-level LED lights, which replace high-pressure sodium and fluorescent fixtures, operate at full power whenever the sensors detect activity but at a reduced level during periods of inactivity.

The lighting upgrades also improve the quality of light in the garages, including the brightness level in the garage stairwells, which improves customer perception of safety.

The award the campus received is part of the Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking Campaign, organized by the Building Owners and Managers Association International, the Green Parking Council, the International Facility Management Association, the International Parking Institute, and the U.S. Green Building Council. The U.S. Department of Energy is the campaign’s technical advisor.

“Receiving the LEEP award is a testament to Campus Facility Services’ continuous pursuit of integrating sustainable practices into campus operations,” said Jessica Davis, director of the IUPUI Office of Sustainability. “Energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective and impactful ways IUPUI can reduce its energy footprint.”

This summer, the IU Board of Trustees approved a project for garage improvements that include lighting upgrades in four additional IUPUI garages: Tower, Vermont, Blackford and Barnhill. Designs for the improvements are underway.

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