Adura Drives Energy Waste Out of Parking Garage Lighting

Adura Drives Energy Waste Out of Parking Garage Lighting

Building managers, who are already hip to the savings high-tech HVAC control systems can offer, are starting to turn their focus to lighting, which can account for about 30 percent of a building's power consumption. One of the big places they’re seeing opportunities for advanced lighting controls is in parking garages, where always-on lighting adds unnecessary operating cost and carbon emissions to the building footprint.

Adura Technologies recently completed installations in two high-profile parking garages in San Francisco. During a 20-week measurement period, the company's automated lighting-control systems reduced energy use for lighting by 40.5 percent at the Hills Plaza complex garage and by 41 percent at Anchorage Square Garage.

The 186,000-square-foot Hills Plaza garage is part of a historic 3.2-acre, multi-use complex serving two popular restaurants, condominiums and commercial office space. Anchorage Square is a well-trafficked 200,000-square-foot parking garage catering mainly to tourists at Fisherman's Wharf.

Of the almost 3 million square feet of space that Adura's technology manages, more than a third is in garages, according to Mark Golan, Adura's CEO. "Garages have high burn rates and sporadic occupancy," he said. "Spaces like garages offer very strong payback. We've had a lot of interest in garages."

Adura's garage installations go beyond traditional motion-detection sensors that have historically been installed in these types of spaces. Instead of just turning on fixtures in currently occupied areas, the wireless system also switches on fixtures in front of pedestrians and vehicles to increase safety. Multiple occupancy time-out periods can also be set depending on the time of day and day of week. During off-peak hours, the installations in Hills Plaza and Anchorage Square reduced energy use by 72 percent and 65 percent respectively.

Adura's systems can also incorporate daylight sensors, which raise or lower lighting levels based on ambient light levels. If an office building is designed to include a lot of natural light, daylighting sensors can cut energy use by about 15 percent, according to Adura. Two daylighting sensors were installed in Anchorage Square, which is above ground. This resulted in about 10 percent less energy used for its lighting systems, the company says.

Lighting accounts for about 30 percent of a building's energy use. Though HVAC systems may use more energy in office buildings, they can require a long lead time to change building temperatures while lighting can change on the spot and is more visible to potential tenants. Still, only 1 percent of California’s office space has lighting control systems installed, according to reports. This has led to an increase in the number of companies developing automatic lighting control systems.

"In the past there's been more interest in HVAC controls because there are more companies focused on the technology," Golan said. "Attention is turning toward lighting because it is very under managed."

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Damors.