P08427: LED Lighting Technologies for a Sustainable Entrepreneurial Venture
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Interview with Facilities Management

Table of Contents

Interviewers: C. Walsh, I. Frank, M. Benedict, S. Russel, W. Maung, N. Potopsingh
Representatives from Facilities Management: Ms. C. Ahern & Mr. D. Harris
Date: 1 October 2007
Location: RIT, Building 9, Room 2550

Interview Transcript

Q: How many different systems do we have on RIT campus?
A:

Q: What is the current condition of the lighting at RIT?
A: Oh, that reminds me. Residence lighting is 110/120 volt, academic is 277 lighting. Anytime you rate an electrical device, it is about current. Specs say that you can only load the current up to 80%. If you increase the voltage of the bulb, the current goes down and you can use more lighting. Food service use only 120.
Back to the question, systems are in good shape because they are basically all new. The special lights get stolen in the res halls occasionally. Vandalism is not a problem with the important lights. When the campus first opened, everything was incandescent bulbs (A-lamps). Incandescent is no longer sold in California and may stop being sold in New York as well. Recently redid the dorms and put in fluorescent. Same is true of academic side. Received some energy grants that gives RIT a rebate to invest in energy efficient motors and lighting. Those tools were retrofitted to the old system. Overall, the oldest fixtures are 15 years old. All hallways in res halls are lit with the 4 ft bulbs.

Q: How long does it take to maintain the lighting systems on campus?
A: 6000 hours a year. I have 3 fulltime staff members dedicated solely to lighting. With the larger, harder areas, group relamps are scheduled. This means that we do every lamp and every fixture on a scheduled basis in a particular place. Res halls replacements are by request. If we decide to do one light in a parking lot, we do the whole lot. Q: How many people are qualified to do electrical work on your staff?
A: With larger jobs that are outside of the normal scope, we contract out. There are a total of 10 people on the facilities staff. 3are dedicated to light bulbs.

Q: What is the energy bill like?
A: I am not too sure what the gas side of the bill is like. I have not been as active on gas side of things for a while. On the electrical side, it is around $425000 per month. That makes it out to be about in $5-6 million dollar range per year for electric and overall $10-11 million for gas and electric. There are two parts to the electric bill. One part is demand which is determined solely on peak days. On September 25, 2007, RIT's electricity peaked to 15,039 kW of draw. Take that number and multiply it by $11 and you get that demand charge. In order to run a 1000 watt bulb (art building), RIT must pay 6 cents per hour. The peaks per month are usually in the 12-14 MW range. So for the base energy bill, RIT is charged for 300000 kWh, but the demand bill this month was based off 150000 KW times $11. Overall, we need to decrease the demand bill. If RIT weren't using fluorescent lights or efficient motors, the number would easily go up to 20 MW.

Q: If LEDs were put into the campus, how much would the energy cost be reduced?
A: Given an example light fixture with 4 fluorescent lamps, that fixture is drawing 140 W of power. As of now there is no equivalent LED fixture that can replace the fluorescent bulbs. However, if there were and it only drew 70 W, 70 W saved over 80000 fixtures would be saving 5600 kW. We can conceivably do that and it would make a bit of difference.

Q: Are there any EXCEL spreadsheets in place to chart out costs of lighting?
A: Yea there is, for outdoor lighting. We look at turning off certain parking lots during slow periods of the year. For example, we turn G and H lots off for summer. Each of those light bulbs in the parking lots is 1 kW, so those things draw a lot of power. There is a reason for this though. Since there are fewer fixtures in G and H lots the poles need to be higher and there needs to be big light bulb in them. The lack of fixtures is also good because snow plows and cars don't have to work around the fixtures in the middle of parking spots and we don't have to change as many light bulbs when the time comes to do that. In comparison, F lot is not nearly as bright as G and H. There would need to be more fixtures in F to make it brighter and that would further interfere with parking.

Q: How much do the HID and the sodium lamps cost per bulb?
A: Granger.com has both the retail and the regular price. 4 ft = $1.28 each. HID and metal halide = $20 - $45 each.

Q: Which should light fixtures on campus should be replaced first?
A: The MR-16s. They only have a 3000 hour life and they are $7 each. The price to change those bulbs is way too costly. The man to change the bulbs is worth $28/hour and it can take up to a 1/2 hour to change each one. That one man must be paid a wage with healthcare benefits and US taxes. Plus, those lights are just decorative. Number two fixture to change would be the walkway lighting: metal halide fixtures. There is a replacement fixture out there that we are looking at, but the replacement is $700 per fixture. There needs to be a good return on the investment and we haven't found that yet. Take the light outside from the project last year, the turbine is 400W. We would rather pull those in than send pure power to them. It does need a better distribution of light so that it can be higher off of the ground and so that they would not be spaced so close together. There needs to be equivalent replacement to 150 W, plus greater than 5 times the life and energy savings.

Q: Why wind mill instead of solar panel on last year's project?
A: Location is critical to get enough wind. We are looking at building another light with a solar panel somewhere else on campus. Some of the walkway fixtures already have a solar panel, but the sun is a big issue here. There has not been too much issue with the solar powered lights, but there are a few days during the winter when the sun is not strong enough to melt off the snow and the power reserves have drained. Otherwise, we like the solar powered lights.

Q: Have you found any complaints with noise, etc. for the wind powered light?
A: No, it is quiet and there have been no complaints. All the feedback has been very positive. With regards to the blinky lights, we looked at getting the wires out there to run off of the system versus the higher initial cost of the solar panel. The solar panel is good for a 30 year lifespan. So, we compared the wires to the solar panel, the solar panel was more cost effective in the end. We have been very happy with solar so far. The lights are carrying their weight. Not ruled out solar for future lighting endeavors. Continue to win more often.

Q: Are there any other things that you would want us to take into consideration?
A: We look for value in the lighting and in the fixture. It has to be heavy-duty enough that it is going to see a lot of people coming through and using it. No cheap fixture that breaks easily would suit us. Look at use and energy primarily. Use daylight and windows along with the lighting to maximize the effect. Ask yourself what fixture will allow for daylight in order to decrease the amount of artificial lighting. To some extent, the architects need to get a certain amount of light for certain applications. Fixture selections come from what will provide the appropriate amount of light. It is a general process.

Q: Are there many places where buildings are venting in order to collect the energy from those? Is it feasible?
A: Yes, it is feasible. The problem is the consistency and how duration of operation the vents work under. They also may not be used year round. It could be something to look into though.

Q: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current lighting systems?
A: The strengths are:

  1. The lighting now is relatively common
  2. The bulbs are easy to find
  3. The cost to purchase them is cheaper
  4. Have a relatively good life
  5. Generic fixtures with parts are easy to get
  6. Replacement is reasonable
  7. Most fixtures are vandal resistant - we want them to last 30 years, they need to last

The weaknesses are:

  1. Looking for better efficiency
  2. Ease to get them out of the fixture
  3. Better efficiency of lamp and fixture

Contact Information

Dave Harris - 47@mail.rit.edu
Catherine Ahern - clafms@rit.edu

Interpreted Needs

After speaking with the representatives from Facilities Management, the list of potential needs below was derived from the conversation: Identify Customer Needs
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