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Office lighting pays dividends.

Financial/accounting firms speak the language of dollars and cents and ROI, but Ernst & Young broke the stuffy stereotype by also factoring in aesthetics and innovation when remodeling its office in Manhattan. The comprehensive project touched 10,000 luminaires on 32 floors. Approximately 3,000 fixtures were retrofitted with LEDs; the rest used high-efficiency fluorescent lamps. One Lux Studio lighting designer Stephen Margulies will describe E&Y's decision-making process along with E&Y representative Jim Schwartz and Meg Smith of Philips Lightolier during a session entitled "Ernst & Young LLP, Relighting Class A Office Space at 5 Times Square, New York City" (Wednesday, April 24, 10:30 a.m.-12 noon).

It's no surprise that due diligence is de rigueur for E&Y. "E&Y needed convincing of everything; LEDs were no exception," says Margulies. "They understood the benefi t of the LEDs in this particular downlight application as the CFL ballasts were reaching end of life and they knew they needed to spend money soon on a replacement." As for ROI, Philips has estimated savings of $1 million per year in energy and maintenance costs, and a reduction in lighting energy use of 2.9 million kWh per year.

The team identified utility rebates that allowed Ernst & Young to lower its upfront costs by more than 13 percent. "We worked with NYSERDA (the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) and Con Ed to evaluate the best rebate program available to our client. At that time it was determined that we were able to achieve better incentives from the Con Ed program," says Margulies. "They were very cooperative looking at this project from a holistic standpoint and not forcing this into a cookie cutter application form. After all, we removed the equivalent of 7,000 100-W lamps from their grid."

Still, the look of the space counted as much as the cost savings. "The facility was designed to achieve a 'timeless' aesthetic, and we needed to make sure that any energy measure we implemented maintained this aesthetic" says Margulies. "Luminaires that were commonly used when this project was originally designed were not necessarily very efficient. The new equipment optimized LED and flourescent efficacies, as well as ensuring light levels were 'right sized' for each space type."

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Author:Tarricone, Paul
Publication:LD+A Magazine
Date:Mar 1, 2013
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