The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology strives to continuously reduce its energy usage and is starting a number of immediate and long-term initiatives to cut energy consumption. As part of its efforts, RMIT University recently upgraded to energy-efficient LED lighting in Building 28’s Research Lounge, significantly its energy consumption and improving light quality.
The B28 Research Lounge was nominated for a pilot research project to investigate how LED lighting could be used to provide a cost effective sustainable solution for retrofitting buildings. Unlike conventional light-for-light replacement, the B28 project takes an innovative approach in the design and engineering of a retrofit solution. The project was led by Eco Hospitality Refurbishment, a company that specializes in sustainable renovations.
The upgrade to LED lighting also resulted in better illumination distribution than the previous CFL and T5 luminaires, according to university officials. The university also reduced energy consumption in the research lounge from 3,286 watts to only 1,698 watts with the new LED lights.
In order to maximize energy utilization efficiency and with virtually no re-wiring, the lighting circuit in the Research Lounge was reticulated in DC mode, the native operating environment of LED. The entire installation of about 100 lights was complete within two days, with preassembled DC switching gear, line protection and distribution enclosure installed during the commissioning of the project. The LED lights feature Cree XLamp® ML-E LEDS inside.
The complete retrofit solution including light fixtures, switchgear and lighting circuit with dimming option and interfacing among the components has produced very encouraging outcomes. Prior to the change, the university’s research team involved with the project measured the total energy usage of the lounge for two weeks. The result showed a total energy consumption of 210 kWh, in a combination of the four lighting modes. Analysis of the new lighting system showed that only 71 kWh is required, an energy-usage savings of 65 percent.
The longevity of a DC reticulated LED lighting system will significantly reduce maintenance and facility management services costs, according to university officials.