Case Histories: Educational/Institutional Lighting
Federal Building and Courthouse Save Taxpayers Money
A $1.3 million investment in new High-Benefit Lighting® at the San Diego Federal Building and Courthouse paid for itself in less than eight months due to significant improvements in productivity, safety, security, and energy efficiency. The project created a 147 percent simple return on investment and realized an overall savings of $1.6 million.
The Federal Building and Courthouse were originally built in 1976. The retrofit used the most energy-efficient lighting equipment on the market to enhance the work environment, increase employee productivity, improve security, and facilitate maintenance.
Gains were recognized immediately. Productivity improved 3 percent in office areas and 15 percent in the courthouse, prison, and Post Office spaces. With a total of 1,800 employees at an average wage (including benefits) of $24,000 per year, the 3 percent productivity improvement saves the federal government $1,296,000 per year in the Federal Building alone.
Judges who used the courtroom with improved lighting considered the improvement so significant they requested that other courtrooms in the complex be similarly equipped.
Lighting in the parking area and hallways leading to the door areas were improved to enhance their appearance and to provide greater safety and security. Accident rates in the parking areas dropped by half in one year and security violations decreased by 20 percent. A reduction of five thefts results in a savings of $7,500 per year, not including the value of the investigating time saved by the security department, estimated at $7,740 per year.
While increased productivity, safety, and security were the main goals of this lighting retrofit, the project was also designed to be energy-efficient. Lighting energy savings amounted to $229,020 in the first year. Less lighting use also lowered the cooling load, saving an additional $50,625 annually on air-conditioning costs.