State of Michigan looks to energy-saving LEDs for building retrofit
To provide and install the lighting, as well as collect research data about lighting results, the state partnered with ilumisys Inc., based in Troy, Mich.
Beginning this March, ilumisys will install three successive generations of LED lighting, each of which will replace 200 4-ft.-long fluorescent tubes–about 25 percent of those in the two-story, 31,000-sq.-ft. building. With each successive generation of lighting expected to be more energy efficient and offer additional improvements and features, the state and ilumisys will collect and share research data during each phase.
“Research and development of solid-state lighting technology is an important component in Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s plan to promote alternative energy technologies and enhance job creation in Michigan,” noted Lisa Webb Sharpe, director of the state’s department of management and budget (DMB), responsible for state-owned buildings. “What we learn from our research, and by working with ilumisys in Escanaba on this pilot program, will help us to continue to evaluate, design and implement environmentally friendly, energy-saving strategies for many state buildings.”
The first lighting product to be installed will be drop-in LED replacements for standard fluorescent tube lighting. Compared to incandescent lamps, fluorescents are said to be three to five times more energy efficient. Equally important, LED lighting contains no mercury or other toxic substances.
An estimated 500 million to 700 million fluorescent lamps containing as much as 13 tons of mercury enter the U.S. waste stream each year, according to statistics supplied by ilumisys. The sobering reality is that a fraction of a teaspoon (1 gram) can render all fish in a 20-acre lake unsafe to eat. Mercury from just one fluorescent lamp can pollute 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe levels for drinking.
Besides saving electricity costs and preserving the environment, the Michigan lighting project will collect data about employees’ reaction to the lighting levels.
“We know there will be an immediate reduction in electricity usage and even greater reductions as the project moves forward and product operating efficiency increases, but we also want to study several other areas that impact total user cost savings,” explained Dave Simon, president of ilumisys. “We certainly want to learn how our patented solid-state lighting technology is being received by those who work underneath our LEDs, so collecting qualitative user experience data is also important.”
Webb Sharpe noted that the state is particularly interested in learning how to use the intelligent circuitry inherently built into solid-state lighting. This circuitry can interface with computer-managed smart building systems to integrate and control heating and cooling, lighting and building security. “Capabilities like these meld nicely with several Michigan initiatives to achieve cost and energy savings through the use of intelligent building technologies,” she said.
“This partnership with the Michigan DMB is a great platform for advancing new technology,” Simon added, “and we are very appreciative of the state’s commitment to alternative energy and support of new business ventures.”
For more information about the ilumisys line of energy-efficient lighting, visit http://www.ilumisys.com/.