News & Events

Friday, October 25, 2013

First West Coast Installation of Low Voltage LED Construction Lighting System Saves 587,000 KW Hours

University of Washington Bothell. University of Washington Capital Projects Office (CPO) personnel, CPO construction partners, and UW faculty members recently toured the UW Bothell Phase 3 Science and Academic Building construction site to inspect the very first West Coast installation of an LED based low voltage lighting system for temporary construction site lighting. The tour, led by Jeff Angeley, UW CPO Senior Construction Manager, was hosted by Lease Crutcher Lewis, General Contractor and Construction Manager.

CPO determined that its projects could do better with regard to temporary lighting, and selection of the temporary lighting system would be driven first by safety, be cost-effective, and also incorporate the University’s sustainability values. The project at the UW Bothell campus was seen as a perfect fit to pilot a new approach, and fits right in with that campus’ emphasis on technology and sustainability. Mr. Angeley researched the latest innovative lighting technologies for this application and following a thorough review discovered the FLEX SLS by Clear-Vu Lighting. “This innovative and sustainable solution meets state and federal minimum mandated light levels necessary to optimize safety, worker productivity and task performance. It also reduces costs over time and employs reusable products in an environmentally responsible way,” according to Mr. Angeley.

Eric Unseth, field foreman for Nelson Electric, laid-out and directed the lighting system installation. Mr. Unseth stated, “The benefits of using this system were ease of installation and reconfiguration, very low maintenance, and optimal safety. We planned ahead and found common fixture locations for every floor that would not interfere with on-going construction. We buried the power cable in the slab and ordered the lighting fixtures with 10’ whips. This combination simplified the initial installation and on-going reconfiguration of the lighting fixtures. The long life of the LEDs and the robust construction of the lighting fixture eliminated maintenance associated with burned-out/broken lamps and other lighting system component damage. The low voltage system eliminated potential electrical shock that can occur with line voltage systems.”

The FLEX SLS LED lighting system produces superior quality lighting with 80% less energy than traditional temporary lighting systems. In addition, the LED system has a 50,000 hour lamp life which eliminates the replacement and disposal of several thousand compact fluorescent lamps traditionally utilized on a project this size (each lamp contains 5 milligrams of mercury). “The USGBC acknowledged the sustainability value of FLEX SLS in awarding a LEED Innovative Design (ID) credit for a project we did at the Harvard Art Museum. This credit will be pursued by University of Washington. This level of energy efficiency results in ROIs that can be measured in months – not years,” said Daniel Lax who heads business development for Clear-Vu Lighting, a new division of a 50-year old injection molding company.

Mindy Uber, Skanska NW Regional Safety Director, shared her general impressions of the construction site tour, “When I walked through the construction site I saw high levels of uniform lighting with no dark corners. When safety and sustainability are demanded by the owner/developer, as is the case with UW Capital Projects, you will end up with safe and energy efficient lighting. The University of Washington is creating a safe working environment with dramatically lower energy costs and that is an excellent example of true sustainability.”

According to Mark Hilliker, Lease Crutcher Lewis Safety Officer, “Dependability is key to lighting safety. I saw a video of one of the FLEX SLS lighting fixtures being tossed out a 2nd story window, crashing to the concrete with no apparent damage to the fixture. That type of durability combined with long LED lamp life has provided us with reliable and safe construction site lighting that requires absolutely no maintenance.”

The University of Washington has consistently been ranked at the very top of colleges and universities for its sustainable practices, and their choice of this new low voltage LED construction site lighting system is consistent with their sustainability mission statement, “The University of Washington is a global leader in environmental science research, education, and technology transfer. We discover and share knowledge for the sustainability of our planet”. Just as importantly, construction projects at the University are substantially safer for construction workers than comparable projects in the state and nationwide, and innovative measures like this will further contribute to making sure everyone on a job site goes home in the same or better shape at the end of each work day.