Detroit Metropolitan Airport to Convert to LED Lights in Parking Structures

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) will replace all 6,050 lighting fixtures in both parking structures and increase the number of fixtures by 19% while still saving 66% on its annual elect ric bill by switching to LED lights.

The project, approved by the Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) board this month, will replace the 1,200 existing 210-watt metal halide fixtures in the Blue Deck with 2,400 repositioned 80-watt LED fixtures, set at a maximum of 60 watts.

All 4,800 existing 210-watt fixtures in the McNamara Terminal Parking Structure will be replaced with the LED fixtures operating at a maximum of 60 watts as well. The project, competitively bid and awarded to Michigan-based Rauhorn Electric, Inc., is expected to cost $6.2 million. The anticipated annual reduction of energy consumption by more than 7,345,000 kilowatt hours in combination with reduced labor and material costs will save WCAA approximately $1.2 million (at current electric rates) every year.

The existing lights need to be replaced on average every 13 months, whereas the new Cooper LED lights are “guaranteed” to meet minimum lighting levels for ten years. The authority may also be eligible for DTE Energy efficiency incentives.

“This project will produce multiple desirable outcomes,” said WCAA CEO Tom Naughton. “It will improve the lighting in our parking facilities, reduce energy consumption, save on maintenance cost s and shrink our carbon footprint.”

In addition to the new fixtures, the project incorporates Smart Light Controls in both parking structures which sense activity in the facilities and observe ambient light levels allowing the Airport to gain even more savings by reducing lighting levels during times when no activity occurs. The controls can activate each LED fixture to provide ample lighting upon sensing pedestrians and vehicles. While the current parking lights run 24 hours per day, the new fixtures and Smart Controls will be able to harvest daylight and reduce power to the fixtures as appropriate.

WCAA Director of Infrastructure and Engineering Ali Dib commented:  “Airport consultants believe this may be the largest single conversion from incandescent lighting to LED ever achieved in the nation.  The project will improve both lighting levels and distribution in both facilities and will standardise light fixtures to reduce inventory and increase maintenance efficiency.”

The Infrastructure and Engineering Department alongside Walker Parking Consultants did “considerable homework” before recommending the conversion, including field-testing 12 different “low bay” light fixtures in actual locations in the Blue Deck.  Airport staff also visited local municipalities, which completed parking garage lighting upgrades.

LEDs are more shock-resistant that fluorescent and incandescent bulbs and light up very quickly after power interruptions.

Dib added:  “The energy saved in this project is equivalent to powering 880 US households for one year, and the reduction of 7,000 metric tons of CO2 per year is equal to taking 1,350 passenger vehicles off the road.”

The project is expected to commence next month and be complete by September 2014.


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