Shedding some light on energy savings

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Bob BestPosted by:
Bob Best
Energy and Sustainability Services

If you look at the night skyline of any major America city, it would be hard to believe that we are trying to save energy. 

In fact, the incredible levels of exterior building illumination might make you think exactly the opposite … energy prices must be falling … we don’t care about greenhouse gas emissions … and there are no energy supply issues.  What a message!

Do we really need to light up our buildings to make every city in America look like the Las Vegas Strip? 

I’m not saying turn all the lights off.  Clearly, there is marketing value for multiple constituents: the tenants that reside in the building, the building owner, and the municipality.   But can’t we turn the lights down … just a little?

Or, even better, can’t we use some of the new technology, like LED lights, to cut the energy consumption?

That’s exactly what one landmark building, the 47-story Miami Tower, is doing in downtown Miami, Florida.  This iconic building has been famously lit up on the Miami skyline since its development in the decadent decade of the 80’s.  Remember the hit TV show Miami Vice?  Yep, this is the building featured in the opening credits.   

New building ownership is replacing vast arrays of 1,000 watt metal halide fixtures (over 25 years old) with new, compact LED lights that will cut electric consumption by 89% … without sacrificing any visibility at all. In fact, lighting tests showed that the new exterior lighting is actually brighter and more color intense than the old system.  And, the colors are computer-controlled, so they can be changed instantaneously for far more dramatic (and much less expensive) lighting effects. 

It’s a much better message.  Buildings do not need to be shining beacons of excess, when they can be monuments of energy brilliance.

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